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Political activist Kevin Zeese has this article about the U.S. military’s imprisonment and solitary confinement of Army PFC Bradley Manning, suggesting that when the U.S. government persecutes alleged whistleblowers in such a manner, it is a warning to all of us that we ought not even think about revealing the government’s illicit acts. And Laurence Vance asks the question, “Is Libertarianism compatible with religion?” describing the relationship between Christianity and the political philosophy of libertarianism. Both Zeese’s and Vance’s articles are transcripts of speeches they had given recently.
To me, libertarianism is the political version of the philosophy Live and Let Live, while Christianity, from my understanding of it, is the religious expression of that philosophy. My own basic philosophies are, “Do unto others what one would want others to do unto you,” and “Don’t do unto others what one would not want others to do unto you.”
I believe in the libertarian view that advocates a society of voluntary associations and contracts amongst the people, and not a society of compulsory associations and contracts. Behaving peacefully is important, as is respecting the rights of others. Those rights include the right of the individual to be free from aggression, which means one must not be permitted to violate anyone else’s person or property – no theft (or fraud), no trespass, no physical aggression (except in defending and protecting oneself against previously-initiated aggression by others).
The Bush crusaders (now the Obama crusaders) who wanted to push their will onto others in foreign territories have not been “Christian” in the aforementioned sense. And supporters of the government’s use of violence, military destruction of property, the murder of innocents and the territorial occupation of foreign lands, cannot honestly claim to believe in Christian moral values.
And those who are rightfully angered when criminals hijack planes and murder 3,000 innocent Americans, but then advocate or condone the U.S. government’s own murders of innocents (in fact, hundreds of thousands of them) abroad, cannot honestly claim to believe in the philosophy, “Don’t do unto others what one would not want others to do unto you.”
Sometimes I wonder, when it comes to some people’s view of patriotism, whether they are really loyal to our country of America or whether their loyalty is more with the government, right or wrong.
Now, the State is an institution of compulsory government, an institution of territorial monopoly in which the agents of the State have been given authority over the rest of the population. The State's agents are not given authority through voluntary association or contract or the consent of those over whom State authority rests, but by compulsion. The State's authority is enforced not by the Rule of Law but by the State’s own self-assigned officialdom and armaments, and threats of aggression.
The State's existence is on the inherent institutionalization of trespass and aggression. If one’s loyalty is to the State, as opposed to being loyal to the Rule of Law and to moral values, then one’s loyalty to the State requires one to support acts by agents of the State that are immoral, thus un-Christian. Unfortunately, too many people, in their intellectual laziness and their passive, blind obedience to anything the State tells them, have accepted their government’s crimes against others (including against themselves, such as with the TSA and other domestic violations of person and property), in the name of “fighting terrorism,” or punishing people for using drugs or whatever.
It is very difficult for me to believe that someone who is Christian-minded and who believes in the aforementioned moral values could approve of a government knowingly apprehending and detaining totally innocent individuals at random as the Bush Administration had done for years following 9/11. Or the U.S. military’s and CIA’s indiscriminate drone-bombing murders of innocent Afghani and Pakistani civilians. Those who believe that’s okay but don’t believe it’s okay for Al-qaeda or the Pakistani government to fly remote-controlled drones over the U.S. and indiscriminately murder innocent Americans do not believe in the philosophy, “Don’t do unto others what one would not want others to do unto you.”
And how could true adherents to Christian moral values have approved of our own government during the early 1990s deliberately destroying Iraqi civilian infrastructure that damaged electrical, water and sewage treatment facilities, causing the Iraqis to have to use untreated water, and with the intention of causing disease and death? Which the U.S. military did do, followed by the U.S.-led sanctions that included withholding the materials needed for rebuilding the infrastructure, causing skyrocketing cancer and child mortality rates by the year 2000. This was the intention of the military, as told in the Washington Post in 1991, and by James Bovard in this article.
I frequently refer to that Bovard article and similar ones on the U.S. government’s treatment of Iraq during the 1990s, because we are rarely told the truth by the mainstream media. Sometimes, the truth needs to be extracted, especially out of secretive government bureaus, just as a dentist pulls a tooth. Yes, it is obviously that painful to most government and military bureaucrats for the truth to be revealed.
When dealing with an institution that relies on secrecy in order to cover up its immoral acts, alternative news sources and reporters are needed. Currently, the mainstream news media are well-entrenched with the State’s propaganda.
Remember, the truth shall set you free.
That brings me to the issue of Army PFC Bradley Manning, accused of leaking documents that exposed various acts of diplomatic buffoonery and corruption as well as alleged war crimes by the U.S. military, and more recently, accused of “aiding the enemy,” even though the military has not revealed exactly who the enemy is. The leaker didn’t leak documents to any foreign government, only to a media organization, and the military has acknowledged that no Americans stationed abroad and no Americans here in the U.S. are in any danger because of the leaked information. And there are many questions as to whether or not Manning is the actual leaker.
If Manning actually is the document leaker, then he certainly couldn’t have done that out of any loyalty to foreign governments, and probably didn’t do it with any particular criminal intent. The leaks were most probably out of loyalty to America, a nation that purports to be one of Liberty in which the people were intended to have authority over their government, and not the other way around. America was intended to be a nation whose foundation rests on the morality of presumption of innocence and Due Process. Those American values are much in sync with the aforementioned Christian values.
But how can anyone who believes in Christian values approve of the kind of imprisonment, solitary confinement, sleep deprivation and forced extended nudity that Bradley Manning has had to endure for many months, especially when he has not been tried nor convicted of any crimes?
And, if he is tried and convicted, what are the crimes that he would be convicted of? Harming Americans’ security? The government has already stated that no leaks have put any American or soldier in harm’s way.
No, the real crime that has been committed has been that of exposing the crimes of the State, pure and simple. In an authoritarian society, that is the kind of “justice” one can find, and it certainly isn’t Christian or moral. Over the past century, many more crimes have been committed by States, not in the name of religion but in the name of democracy or other political world view, including by the U.S. government – murders of innocents, theft and destruction of property, counterfeiting, violations of basic civil liberties – than could ever have been committed by private individuals or groups outside of the government sector of societies.
When the government uses a whistleblower soldier such as Bradley Manning in such an inhumane way for the purpose of warning the rest of us that we all had better be good, obedient sheeple regardless of the government’s crimes against us and foreigners, then it is probably time for the people to actively work to restructure the society and remove that kind of armed officialdom from such an immoral agency.
The current statist society of institutionalized violence and destruction under authoritarian State rule should be replaced by a libertarian, Christian society of peaceful people, acting voluntarily amongst one another, in which everyone – including agents of the State – must follow the Rule of Law.