Freedom Circle logo
Freedom Circle

Where Can You Find Freedom Today?

Armed conflict between nations: "The Health of the State"
See also:
  • FreedomPedia
  • War is a state of armed conflict between states, societies and informal groups, such as insurgents and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme aggression, destruction and mortality, using regular or irregular military forces. Warfare refers to the common activities and characteristics of types of war, or of wars in general. Total war is warfare that is not restricted to purely legitimate military targets and can result in massive civilian or other non-combatant casualties.

    Notable Topics

    • American Revolutionary War - The war for American independence from Great Britain
    • American War Between the States - Conflict between the U.S. northern and southern states, which seceded to form the Confederacy
    • Cold War - The struggle between the so-called superpowers and their respective allies during the second half of the 20th century
    • Gulf War - 1990-91 conflict between Iraq and forces led by the United States, in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait
    • Iraq War - Invasion of Iraq by the U.S. and other countries, purportedly to find weapons of mass destruction
    • Vietnam War - Conflict during 1954-1975 between South and North Vietnam, with increasing United States involvement
    • World War I - The "Great War", European conflict from 1914 to 1918 that extended to include the United States and some Asian and African nations
    • World War II - Worldwide conflict from 1939 to 1945
    The Randolph Bourne Institute, Publisher of


    Peace and Pacifism, by Robert Higgs, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Reviews what prominent classical liberals and libertarians had to say on the subject of peace and war, as well as the history of United States wars from the War of 1812 to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the efforts of those who opposed them
    Modern libertarianism has deep roots in classical liberalism, an ideology that looks at war as a reactionary undertaking at odds with the social progress ... If "war is the health of the state," ... then peace is a necessary condition for individual freedom to flourish ... In U.S. history, opposition emerged before or during almost every war, although it assumed much greater proportions on some occasions ... These historical episodes serve as lessons for contemporary libertarians, ... inspiring their resistance to the unnecessary wars that the state continues to launch with distressing frequency.

    "Your best source for antiwar news, viewpoints, and activities"; columnists include the late Justin Raimondo, Doug Bandow, Ted Galen Carpenter, Tom Engelhardt, Scott Horton, Daniel Larison, Ray McGovern, Ron Paul, Sheldon Richman and Ted Snider
    Truth About War
    A project of the American Liberty Foundation
    The site you are about to enter was frozen with the start of the War in Iraq ... This site ... is a permanent record showing that not everyone was fooled by the claims made about Saddam Hussein and his supposed Weapons of Mass Destruction. The President, the CIA, the national press, and many foreign governments, all got it wrong ... Our first claim was that Saddam Hussein didn't have weapons of mass destruction. We made several claims, all of which, when reviewed with hindsight, seems like we must've had foresight ... And Iraq is just one example in a sordid history of war.


    War and Peace - Online Library of Liberty
    More than 70 titles, including works by Erasmus, Hugo Grotius, Thomas Hodgskin, Daniel Webster, James Mill, Richard Cobden, Frédéric Bastiat, Herbert Spencer, William Graham Sumner, Ludwig von Mises and Frank Chodorov
    Wars can be fought to preserve freedom, and they can also be tragically destructive of it. The way that human societies have made war and sought peace throughout our existence provides a useful study for considering how best to keep and protect the freedoms we have, and how to gain the ones we want.


    The 100th Anniversary of the Great State Crime, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 8 Aug 2014
    Reflections on the start of the Great War, 100 years ago, the second act (World War II) and wars in general
    [M]ost disturbingly, the war demonstrated how easily populations can be incited to eagerly ... leave their homes and loved ones, and lunge for the throat of the Other, or die trying ... Fussell was fascinated by war's capacity to create absurd juxtapositions: one moment a British soldier quietly enjoys his tea and biscuits in a trench in France; in the next his skull is blown open by a German shell and the human debris injures his friend nearby. Fussell's virtue is in demythologizing "good" wars, showing that ... there is no glamour, no romance, no redemption in the whole bloody business.
    Aaron Russo's extremism in defense of liberty, by Anthony Gregory, Rational Review, 18 May 2004
    Compares the pluses and minuses of the major 2004 Libertarian Party presidential candidates (Michael Badnarik, Gary Nolan and Aaron Russo) and explains why he endorses Russo
    Gary Nolan is very libertarian, except on one issue, which I consider to be the most important one ... [H]e supported the slaughter in Afghanistan ... [W]hen the U.S. government lies America into unjust war after unjust war, never achieving its promised goals and always killing thousands of innocents, I see no reason to give it a free pass on Afghanistan. It's not only Nolan's advocacy of that war—it's the way that he affirms it that bothers me. He says such collectivist and ridiculous things as, "All's fair in love and war." He shrugs off the "collateral damage" in Afghanistan ...
    The Abominations of War: From My Lai to Haditha, by Cindy Sheehan, 6 Jun 2006
    Responds to those who demand to "support our troops" and the President by listing various immoral and illegal actions, suggesting instead that George W. Bush be prosecuted as a war criminal and offering support to those who disobey unlawful orders
    Another false piece of propaganda that we are fed is that we need to support the president, especially when we are "at war." I say, "No, way!" Our kids know the difference between right and wrong ... War, under any circumstance, is not a "core value" of humanity; in fact, it is the ultimate failure of humanity. War turns our mostly normal American youth into wanton murderers who have lost their own humanity and love of others. Haditha in this war and My Lai in another disgusting war were unfortunately not aberrations. War is the abominable aberration.
    The Abstract Concept of Human Liberty, by Robert LeFevre, The Freeman, Dec 1982
    Discusses how people may be interested in other people, in events or in material things but only a few are interested in ideas, and how each group of people tends to view liberty from those perspectives
    To understand ideas is to cope with abstractions. But those who function at the level of people-interest rarely take the time to comprehend what freedom is all about. They understand the broken body of a war-victim carried from some battlefield. They know that person has had his freedom violated. They can tell. They see the blood. But they do not see into the heart of their neighbor, who, by tireless effort, great personal restraint and long years of rigid self-discipline has brought a business into existence.
    UpdAlong Pennsylvania Avenue, by Aubrey Herbert, Faith and Freedom, Mar 1955
    Discusses alternatives to dealing with the 1955 Taiwan Strait crisis and the response in the U.S. Congress and by General MacArthur, the Wolf Ladejinsky case and Federal Government budget estimates
    At a time when many of his followers expected a virtual call to arms, Douglas MacArthur issued a clarion call for peace. It was perhaps the gallant old soldier's finest hour. MacArthur pointed out that the H-bomb age has outmoded war as a settler of international disputes. Let emotions or wishes be what they may, we know that war now is not only immoral but also irrational, for it can end only in "double suicide." The people of all countries know this, said MacArthur; "the leaders are the laggards. The disease of power seems to confuse and befuddle them."
    Related Topics: China, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Taiwan
    America, meet your leaders, by Harry Browne, WorldNetDaily, 19 Sep 2002
    Written six months before the Iraq invasion, discusses the attitudes of George W. Bush and the pundits who agitated for the invasion and the lies that were told to start previous wars
    After every war, the historians ... discover that a great deal of what our government claimed as the reason for going to war was untrue.
    • After World War II, we found out that the Pearl Harbor attack was neither "unprovoked" nor a "surprise."
    • After the Vietnam War, we discovered that the Vietnamese didn't really fire on American ships in the Gulf of Tonkin, and so the Senate resolution escalating the war was based on a fraud.
    • After the Gulf War, it turned out that the Kuwaiti woman who told Congress that she witnessed Iraqi atrocities ... wasn't even in Kuwait at the time she "saw" the atrocities.
    Related Topic: George W. Bush
    America Must Reject Netanyahu's War Cry on Iran, by Sheldon Richman, 4 Mar 2015
    Counters Benjamin Netanyahu's speech at the U.S. Congress about Iran's nuclear weapons intentions, discussing reasons behind his push for war
    [T]he prime minister's objective is nothing less than to wreck the current negotiations and push America into a regime-changing war against Iran ... In fact, Israel and the United States have been waging war—economic, covert, proxy, and cyber—against Iran for decades ... So why is Netanyahu pushing war? Among several reasons, demonizing Iran reduces pressure on Israel to negotiate seriously with the Palestinians ... War with Iran would be a catastrophe all around. Netanyahu and his hawkish American allies—the same people who gave us the disastrous Iraq war and ISIS—must be repudiated.
    Related Topics: Iran, Israel, Middle East
    American Hawks Risk Escalating the Ukrainian Crisis, by Sheldon Richman, 5 Mar 2014
    Discusses the potential expansion of the 2014 Ukrainian conflict due to those who advocate a "get tough" on Russia stance while claiming the U.S. has "retreated from the world"
    While the chances of war between the two behemoths seem small—these are, after all, nuclear powers that have avoided war for over 60 years—nothing can be taken for granted. No one wanted the Great War that began in central Europe a century ago this year either, but things can get out of control. Governments are run by human beings who, perhaps more than others, are tainted by arrogance, vainglory, and the fear of humiliation ... Putin's moves toward mobilization are to be condemned by all who love peace and oppose war. Any war would kill innocents and run a high risk of careening out of control.
    Related Topics: Foreign entanglements, Russia
    America's Two Just Wars: 1775 and 1861, by Murray N. Rothbard, The Costs of War, May 1994
    Based on a talk given at the Mises Institute's Costs of War conference, Atlanta, 20-22 May 1994
    My own view of war can be put simply: a just war exists when a people tries to ward off the threat of coercive domination by another people, or to overthrow an already-existing domination. A war is unjust, on the other hand, when a people try to impose domination on another people, or try to retain an already existing coercive rule over them ... There have been only two wars in American history that were, in my view, assuredly and unquestionably proper and just; not only that, the opposing side waged a war that was clearly and notably unjust.
    The Anatomy of the State, by Murray N. Rothbard, Rampart Journal of Individualist Thought, Jun 1965
    Examines several attributes of the State, including how it maintains and grows itself and how it deals with other States
    Since most men tend to love their homeland, the identification of that land ... with the State was a means of making natural patriotism work to [its] advantage. If "Ruritania" was being attacked by "Walldavia," the first task of the State and its intellectuals was to convince the people of Ruritania that the attack was really upon them and not simply upon the ruling caste. In this way, a war between rulers was converted into a war between peoples ... [I]t was not too long ago that the mass of subjects regarded wars as irrelevant battles between various sets of nobles.
    Atrocities in the 'Good War': A Tract for Today, by Robert Higgs, 19 Jun 2006
    Introduces excerpt from Edgar L. Jones' article "One War is Enough", Atlantic Monthly Feb 1946, pp. 49-50, as "valuable lessons" for those reflecting on the atrocities committed in the Iraq War
    [Jones:] What kind of war do civilians suppose we [Americans] fought, anyway? We shot prisoners in cold blood, wiped out hospitals, strafed lifeboats, killed or mistreated enemy civilians, finished off the enemy wounded, tossed the dying into a hole with the dead, and in the Pacific boiled the flesh off enemy skulls to make table ornaments for sweethearts, or carved their bones into letter openers. We topped off our saturation bombing and burning of enemy civilians by dropping atomic bombs on two nearly defenseless cities, thereby setting an all-time record for instantaneous mass slaughter.
    Related Topics: Iraq War, World War II
    Auberon Herbert, Part 1, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, Feb 2011
    First part of biographical essay on Auberon Herbert; discusses Spencer's influence on him, his views on anarchism vs. voluntaryism, self-ownership, majority rule, war and imperialism
    War was the pure expression of "the way of force and strife." Herbert's anti-war sentiments had a long history. Like many British aristocrats, he had held commissions in the army and served in India; in letters home, he criticized the British occupation. During the Prusso-Danish war (1864), he spent time observing action near the front line and was subsequently decorated ... for rendering aid to the wounded. He also directly observed the American Civil War (1861–1865), of which he wrote, "I am very glad that slavery is done away with, but I think the manner is very bad and wrong."
    The Bathtub, Mencken, and War, by Wendy McElroy, The Freeman, Sep 1999
    Relates the story behind a Mencken essay, written during the First World War, to mock and show contempt for contemporary "journalists who blithely reported fiction as fact" and subsequent (eight years later) articles confessing to the hoax
    It is easy to laugh and lose sight of the motive behind "A Neglected Anniversary." Mencken wished to demonstrate the dramatic inaccuracies of many newspaper accounts, which are too often swallowed whole by uncritical readers. This phenomenon is especially prevalent in periods of war, when great efforts are made to stir the public's emotions so that it unquestioningly supports the government's policies. When reading accounts of war, it is valuable to consider Mencken's estimate that "probably not one per cent" of it is true.
    Related Topics: H. L. Mencken, World War I
    Beware Income-Tax Casuistry, Part 2, by Sheldon Richman, Freedom Daily, Sep 2006
    Reviews the income tax laws passed between 1861 and 1894 and the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co. (1895) that challenged the constitutionality of the 1894 law
    The United States got its first income tax during the War Between the States, again demonstrating that war harms ordinary people in more ways than militarily. During any war government becomes an especially voracious consumer of the people's resources and dissent is stifled or suppressed. So it is no surprise that the first income tax came when it did, or that Abraham Lincoln, a devotee of mercantilism, was the father of the tax. Several successive wartime bills enacting progressive income taxes were passed by Congress, and when the war ended, the income tax did not.
    Bill Kauffman: American Anarchist, by Laurence M. Vance, 4 Dec 2006
    Review of Kauffman's Look Homeward, America: In Search of Reactionary Radicals and Front-Porch Anarchists (2006)
    Berry hates war for the simple reason that he loves his family:
    As a father, I must look at my son, and ... I must ask if I believe it would be meaningful–after his mother and I have loved each other and begotten him and loved him–for him to die in a lump with a number hanging around his neck. I must ask if his life would have come to meaning or nobility or any usefulness if he should sit–with his human hands and head and eyes–in the cockpit of a bomber, dealing out pain and grief and death to people unknown to him. And my answer to all these questions is one that I must attempt to live by: No.
    Blockading with Trade Restrictions, by Jim Powell, 27 Oct 2010
    Explores the writings of Henry George in his book Protection or Free Trade (1879) offering advice to current waves of protectionism
    George observed that nations try to prevent adversaries from trading, and a blockade is considered an act of war. For instance, the British blockaded Boston Harbor during the American Revolution ... In 1861, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the Union Blockade that covered some 3,500 miles of Confederate coastline and 12 major Confederate ports ... One might add that after Henry George's time, during World War I and World War II, the British established blockades to prevent Germany from obtaining things it needed ... India blockaded Bangladesh during the 1971 war with Pakistan.
    Related Topics: Free trade, Henry George, Monopoly
    A Bogus Libertarian Defense of War, by Sheldon Richman, Freedom Daily, Oct 2007
    Criticizes Randy Barnett's Wall Street Journal op-ed "Libertarians and the War" (17 Jul 2007) and his follow-up post "Antiwar Libertarians and the Reification of the State" (20 Jul 2007) at the Volokh Conspiracy blog
    Many conservatives ... have no compunction about supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ... War requires the accumulation and exercise of awesome powers ... [A]ny response to a truly unprovoked attack must respect the rights of innocents. Actions that can be expected to harm people not involved in the original attack should be avoided. War must not be an occasion for dispensing with normal moral prohibitions ... No one has put it better than the anti-World War I writer Randolph Bourne: "War is the health of the state." How can any libertarian defend it?
    The "Boomerang Effect": How Foreign Policy Changes Domestic Policy, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 26 Sep 2014
    Reviews the essay "Perfecting Tyranny: Foreign Intervention as Experimentation in State Controll" by Christopher Coyne and Abigail Hall, published in the Fall 2014 issue of the Independent Review
    [A]n interventionist foreign policy tends to build up power in the central government. To the extent that the dispersion of power—"federalism"—limits centralized authority and protects zones of freedom, centralization is obviously a danger for liberty. [Coyne and Hall] quote Bruce Porter, who wrote that "a government at war is a juggernaut of centralization determined to crush any internal opposition that impedes the mobilization of militarily vital resources. This centralizing tendency of war has made the rise of the state throughout much of history a disaster for human liberty and rights."
    Brian Williams Helped Pave the Way to War, by Sheldon Richman, 10 Feb 2015
    Comments on the mainstream broadcast and cable TV network "journalists" who unquestioningly supported and support government military actions around the world
    What did these fake-news presenters learn from [supporting the Iraq invasion]? Not a thing. If you want proof, tune in to the three major networks' newscasts or consult the American cable news channels ... There you'll find stage actors conveying the Obama administration's neoconservative line about the ISIS threat to the American people and the need for government military action to counteract it—never noting that there was no ISIS or al-Qaeda in Iraq before the Bush war they helped make possible. Reporting "news" without providing the context is a surefire way to mislead viewers.
    Related Topics: Iran, Iraq War, Television Shows
    The Bright Side of War, by Sheldon Richman, 24 May 2004
    Comments on a Washington Post article on the presumed economic benefits of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
    War creates jobs. At least that's what lots of people think ... But the idea that war creates prosperity is emphatically not true ... [I]f we taxpayers weren't taxed for war, we'd have money for other things ... The real cost of the war is the wealth we are compelled to forgo ... Government spending on war ... is different. It is financed by force—taxation—and no one willingly buys the output. How many people would voluntary help finance the war in Iraq? ... Even truly defensive wars entail destruction, not production. Wars of aggression, such as the U.S. war in Iraq, add insult to injury.
    The Case for Impeachment: Why we can no longer afford George W. Bush, by Lewis H. Lapham, Harper's Magazine, 27 Feb 2006
    Editorial discussing John Conyer's Dec 2005 resolution seeking establishment of a congressional committee to, among other things, "make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment" of George W. Bush, and the bases for taking such action
    "We're at war," the President said on December 19, "we must protect America's secrets." No, the country isn't at war, and it's not America's secrets that the President seeks to protect. The country is threatened by free-booting terrorists unaligned with a foreign government or an enemy army; the secrets are those of the Bush Administration, chief among them its determination to replace a democratic republic with something more safely totalitarian. The fiction of permanent war allows it to seize, in the name of the national security, the instruments of tyranny.
    Cobden, Richard (1804-1865), by John M. Brady, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    [Cobden] was an outspoken opponent of foreign adventurism and war. Cobden and Bright devoted a great part of their public lives to the cause of international peace, but with much less success than attended their campaign to repeal the Corn Laws. They defied establishment and popular opinion on several occasions, most famously when they opposed British involvement in the Crimean War (1854–1856). They hated both the immoral loss of human life and the onerous financial burden entailed by Great Britain's unnecessary decision to support the Ottoman Empire against Russia.
    Related Topics: Richard Cobden, Free trade
    Congress Must Not Cede Its War Power to Israel, by Sheldon Richman, 26 Dec 2013
    Examines the reasons behind the U.S. Senate bill proposed as the "Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013"
    The American people should know that pending right now in Congress is a bipartisan bill that would virtually commit the United States to go to war against Iran if Israel attacks the Islamic Republic ... The mind boggles at the thought that Congress would let a foreign government decide when America goes to war ... [I]nsisting that Iran cease all enrichment of uranium is equivalent to obliterating any chance of a peaceful settlement with Iran and making war more likely ... [E]ven if Iran were a threat to Israel, that would not warrant letting any foreign government dictate when we go to war.
    Related Topics: Iran, Israel
    Conscience on the Battlefield, by Leonard E. Read, 1981
    Pamphlet written in 1951, during the Korean War, revised edition in 1981; Read recalls the 1918 incident when the troopship he was on was sunk by a German submarine and wonders about his thoughts if he were dying (in 1951) on a Korean battlefield
    In 1951, during the Korean War, I wrote a pamphlet entitled Conscience on the Battlefield. War "as a means to peace among nations" was then, and remains, a world-wide fallacy. Today, small wars go on in various parts of the globe, and there is the possibility that a big one is in the offing. Anyway, the mere likelihood of more such nonsense warrants a reissue of this thesis–with some minor changes.
    Nonsense? Congress declares war in which millions may be killed. But every one of those legislators would be revolted by the thought of shooting a single innocent man. The nonsense is millions times one!
    The Critical Dilemma Facing Pro-War Libertarians, by Jacob G. Hornberger, 14 Feb 2007
    Discusses the contradictions faced by U.S. libertarians and conservatives who endorsed or encouraged imperial and interventionist foreign policies following the attacks of 11 Sep 2001
    No one can deny that we now live in a country in which the president, on his own initiative, has the omnipotent power to send the nation into war against any country ..., especially given that the war on terror extends all over the globe ... The president, the CIA, and the military have the power to send missiles into cars and drop bombs into buildings anywhere ..., including right here in the United States, in their attempt to win the war on terror. Indeed, the president wields the power to ignore any constitutional or legislative restraints on his power as a "wartime" commander in chief.
    Democracy Versus Freedom, by Jarret B. Wollstein, Freedom Daily, Jan 2006
    Compares the definitions of democracy, collectivism and individualism, explaining why democracy and regular elections do not guarantee freedom, substantive rights nor peace, and that democracy is not a precondition for individual liberty
    It is true that the relatively free democratic states are less likely to fight each other. But democratically elected regimes frequently attack weak nondemocracies ... Indeed, in the 20th century, the United States attacked more countries than any other nation. Since the end of World War II, the United States has engaged in more than 200 armed conflicts, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians waging wars or military actions in Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Grenada, Colombia, Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan, Serbia, and Bosnia. In nearly all of these conflicts, there was no threat to the United States.
    Divestment Works, by Jim Davidson, The Libertarian Enterprise, 21 Jun 2009
    Praises Richard Maybury but criticizes some of his investment advice, recommending instead that one should not invest in military and defense-related stocks in order to stop the "death merchants"
    The problem with investing in death merchants is, you get death with every dividend. When you invest in the military, you signify your desire for more of it ... And there are no clean wars. There are no wars without collateral casualties. These wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and elsewhere have brought not only death and destruction, but direct assaults on American civil liberties. Investing in defense stocks is a way of saying, "I like the fact that the military contractors help the military and the CIA torture prisoners to death. I want less freedom and more authoritarian government."
    Les Economistes Libertaires, by Carl Watner, Reason, Jan 1977
    Discusses the French economists of the 19th century and in particular Gustave de Molinari and his thoughts on the provision of security and defense services by private agencies
    Under free competition the consumers would not tolerate warlike producers, nor would they allow themselves to be conquered. As Molinari brilliantly declared, "War is a natural consequence of monopoly; peace is the natural consequence of liberty." It was his expectation that peace would more likely reign under a regime of liberty ... Another principle that [he] constantly emphasized was that competition is totally alien to war. Free trade is the most sure guarantee of private and world peace. With nationality subject to free choice ... there would be no reason for governments to go to war.
    Ellsberg's Lessons for Our Time, by James Bovard, Freedom Daily, May 2008
    Reviews Daniel Ellsberg's Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers (2003) and points out how its commentary applies to the then current conflict in Iraq
    Ellsberg knowingly risked spending a life in prison to bring the truth about the Vietnam War to Americans ... [He] became active with anti-war demonstrators and has great anecdotes ... The motto of the 1971 May Day anti-war protests was "If they won't stop the war, we'll stop the government." This is an ideal that should not be forgotten by those in our time who have wearied of surge and postsurge nonsense ... In the new century, Ellsberg has continued speaking out, condemning official lies, and appealing to Americans to recognize that wars are far bloodier and more costly than leaders claim.
    Empire or Liberty: The Antifederalists and Foreign Policy, 1787-1788 [PDF], by Jonathan Marshall, The Journal of Libertarian Studies, 1980
    Describes the arguments regarding foreign policy made during the period of ratification of the United States Constitution by the Federalists and the counterarguments, "largely ignored" by historians, from the Antifederalists
    The President, like the King, could make war with the consent of the legislature, "and therefore these powers, in both president and king, are substantially the same ..." ... War and glory, wrote "Brutus" in response to Hamilton's pleas ..., should not be the final ends of government; Americans ought instead "to furnish the world with an example of a great people, who in their civil institutions hold chiefly in view the attainment of virtue ... Let the monarchs in Europe share among them the glory of depopulating countries, and butchering thousands of their innocent citizens."
    End Draft Registration!, by Sheldon Richman, 29 Dec 2006
    Comments on the proposal by Rep. Charles Rangel to resume military conscription and examines the history of the draft and the registration requirement
    [C]onscription is involuntary servitude. Rangel says the draft would ensure that unpopular wars would provoke public opposition, as it eventually did in the Vietnam War. But he conveniently forgets that that war, as well as the Korean War he himself fought in, were started under conscription. In the case of Vietnam, many draftees died before the protests started. A far better way to enable people to effectively object to wars is the volunteer army. At the very least, a society with pretensions of freedom should recognize the right of people to abstain from fighting wars they disapprove of.
    Related Topic: Jimmy Carter
    The Failed Attempt to Leash the Dogs of War, by Bart Frazier, Freedom Daily, Dec 2006
    Discusses provisions of the Constitution that were meant to prevent the United States from having a large, permanent military and becoming involved in warfare at the will of a single person
    Of the many powers that government is granted, none has more potential for disaster than the power to wage war. Not only does warfare cost ... in terms of lost lives, it also has detrimental effects on the economy and society ... War concentrates power into the hands of the few and saps the will of citizens to resist, as they become stupefied with patriotic fervor ... The Founders also knew that if war were to befall the country, the cause was just as likely to come from within the country as without. For it is not invading armies that pose the greatest threat to liberty, but the state itself.
    The Federalist No. III: The Same Subject continued: Concerning Dangers from foreign Force and Influence, by Publius, The Independent Journal, 3 Nov 1787
    Argues for the Constitution and a single national government, since it would be more efficient, its decisions would be "more wise, systematical, and judicious", have "wisdom and prudence" and attain peace "more perfectly and punctually"
    The number of wars which have happened or will happen in the world will always be found to be in proportion to the number and weight of the causes, whether real or pretended, which provoke or invite them. If this remark be just, it becomes useful to inquire whether so many just causes of war are likely to be given by united America as by disunited America ... [T]hen it will follow, that, in this respect, the union tends most to preserve the people in a state of peace with other nations. The just causes of war, for the most part, arise either from violation of treaties or from direct violence.
    The Federalist No. IV: The Same Subject continued: Concerning Dangers from foreign Force and Influence, by Publius, The Independent Journal, 7 Nov 1787
    Considers the potential of invasion on Great Britain's constituent countries (if they had separate armies and fleets) and the United States if divided into 13 states or three or four confederacies, arguing for the advantages of centralization
    It is too true, however disgraceful it may be ..., that nations in general will make war whenever they have a prospect of getting anything by it; nay that absolute monarchs will often make war ... but for the purposes and objects merely personal, such as, a thirst for military glory, revenge for personal affronts, ambition or private compacts to aggrandize or support their particular families, or partisans. These and a variety of other motives, which affect only the mind of the sovereign, often lead him to engage in wars not sanctified by justice or the voice and interests of his people.
    Related Topic: Great Britain
    Felix Morley: An Old-fashioned Republican, by Joseph R. Stromberg,, 7 Dec 1999
    Biographical and bibliographical essay
    In summer 1957, sounding like new left sociologist C. Wright Mills, Morley wrote that "we have a vested interest in preparation for war." Whole sectors of industry were massively dependent on maintaining cold war levels of defense spending and "if we stopped preparing for war the effect on the economy would be disastrous." One result was a lack of willingness to undertake serious negotiations with our international opponents. Another result of permanent mobilization– war-in-peace–was the rise of "a self-perpetuating managerial elite."
    Foreign Policy, by John Bright, 29 Oct 1858
    Speech given to the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce; criticizes British militarism and imperialism, pointing out the effects of several 19th century wars on national debt, poverty and families
    Since the "Glorious Revolution," since the enthronization of the great Norman territorial families, they have spent in wars, and we have worked for, about 2,000,000,000l. The interest on that is 100,000,000l. per annum, which ... is three or four times as much as ... your annual export trade ... Therefore, if war has provided you with a trade, it has been at an enormous cost; but I think it is by no means doubtful that your trade would have been no less in amount and no less profitable, had peace and justice been inscribed on your flag instead of conquest and the love of military renown.
    Free Trade or Protectionism?, by Vincent H. Miller, James R. Elwood, 1988
    Educational pamphlet to inform about the benefits of free trade and the costs of so-called "protectionism" or "fair trade"
    History is not lacking in examples of cold trade wars escalating into hot shooting wars:
    • Europe suffered from almost non-stop wars during the 17th and 18th centuries, when restrictive trade policy (mercantilism) was the rule; rival governments fought each other to expand their empires and to exploit captive markets.
    • British tariffs provoked the American colonists to revolution, and later the Northern-dominated US government imposed restrictions on Southern cotton exports–a major factor leading to the American Civil War.
    • ...
    Related Topics: Free trade, Prices, Taxation
    Glorious War!, by Joseph Sobran, The Reactionary Utopian, 31 Aug 2006
    Discusses how, after the Bush father and son presidencies, the Republican Party and conservatism became associated with militarism and war
    Goldwater conservatives supported the Vietnam war, originally a liberal project, even complaining that it wasn't being waged with enough force. They began sneering at "peaceniks," then equating peace with liberalism (and war with patriotism) and ... favoring huge military budgets. Lyndon Johnson's war soon became "Nixon's war" ... The popularity of war is intense but brief. Americans will support quick and victorious wars, but after a few months the thrill tends to wear off ... Being the most devastating of human activities, war would seem to be at the opposite pole from conserving anything.
    The Greatness of Peace Activist John Bright, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 24 May 2013
    Commentary on John Bright's opposition to war and interventionism. with relevant excerpts to several of his speeches
    [A]s the [Crimean] war was starting, Bright stood before the Conference of the Peace Society in Edinburgh ... War, he said, takes bread from the working class.
    Every twenty years ... a thousand millions sterling out of the industry of the hard-working people of this United Kingdom, are extorted, appropriated, and expended to pay for that unnecessary and unjust war ... What is war? ... [I]t may be summed up to be the combination and concentration of all the horrors, atrocities, crimes, and sufferings of which human nature on this globe is capable ... [Emphasis added.]
    Related Topics: John Bright, Ethics, Great Britain
    Gustave de Molinari on States and Defense, by Joseph R. Stromberg, 25 Jul 2000
    Examines Molinari's conception of states, including democracies, and their role in defense, as well as his proposal for agencies to provide defense against external aggressors
    [Conquering new lands and new subjects] was more tempting but meant conflict with other states–in a word, "war" as opposed to mere raiding ... With economic progress, rulers could take higher profits at home, but much of this growing surplus had to be spent on armies and materiel in order to avoid defeat at the hands of other states and to make possible successful seizure of others' lands ... This spiral of war-making and war readiness destroyed life and capital and, "worst burden of all, the persistency of war obliges every nation to maintain a vast permanent machinery of destruction" ...
    Habeas Corpus: The Lynchpin of Freedom, by Jacob G. Hornberger, 11 Oct 2006
    Commenting on the Military Commissions Act of 2006, discusses a hypothetical U.S. war scenario where the president extends MCA cancellation of habeas corpus to U.S. citizens criticizing the war and thus "aiding the enemy"
    Let's assume that the president involves the nation in another foreign war but this time one ... involving the deaths of thousands of U.S. troops. Congress grants the president's request to enact a draft to replenish the Pentagon's human coffers ... Assume also that ... the American people are angry and outraged over the president's and Congress's actions. They point out that the Constitution prohibits the president from starting and waging a war without an express declaration of war from Congress. They oppose subjecting themselves and their children to a draft and another foreign war.
    Harry Elmer Barnes as Revisionist of the Cold War, by Murray N. Rothbard, Harry Elmer Barnes: Learned Crusader, 1968
    Contrasts Court Intellectuals with revisionists and the narrow with the broad revisionists, and then discusses Harry Elmer Barnes' contributions as a broad revisionist of the Cold War
    In the war mythology, the Enemy is never hesitant, never confused, never human, never fearful of us attacking him or of precipitating destructive war, and above all never ready to negotiate honestly to try to lessen tensions or to work out mutually satisfactory means of living in peace. The Enemy is ... preternaturally cunning and evil, driven only and always by his predetermined goal to "conquer the world" at all costs ... And yet this same superhuman enemy, according to the myth, can be stopped from his ever fermenting aggression in one and only one way: by force majeure ...
    Hell-Bent on War, by Justin Raimondo, 14 Feb 2007
    Discusses propaganda and other efforts by the George W. Bush administration and neoconservatives to launch military action against Iran, and relevant commentary from a professor of international relations as well as Russian President Putin
    As incredibly crazy as it sounds, this administration is intent on starting yet another war in the Middle East–this time against a far larger, more formidable enemy, one that has the power to strike back on an international scale ... In a sane world, the economic consequences alone would be a sufficient deterrent to even considering war with Iran. Skyrocketing oil prices, a huge "correction" in the financial markets, the sudden immiseration of great numbers of people–these are events that no American leader would want to occur, yet economic turmoil could help the War Party in a number of ways.
    Related Topics: George W. Bush, Imperialism, Iran
    Henry David Thoreau and "Civil Disobedience," Part 2, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, Apr 2005
    Examines several of the initial themes in Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience", including government injustice, the individual as the source of power and authority, war and the military and the reasons why people obey the state
    The 1840s expressed a spirit of expansion called "Manifest Destiny" ... Part of the expansion was an annexation of Texas, which sparked a war with Mexico ... [T]he domestic consequences of the conflict deeply disturbed [Thoreau]. Taxes soared; the country assumed a military air. [He] was horrified to learn that some of his neighbors actively supported the war. He was perplexed by those who did not support the war but who financed it through the taxes they paid. After all, he considered the war to be "the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool."
    Herbert Spencer as an Anthropologist [PDF], by Robert L. Carneiro, The Journal of Libertarian Studies, 1981
    Traces Spencer's contributions to the fields now known as anthropology and sociology and how his concept of cultural evolution was developed
    Of all the material determinants [of society] which Spencer invoked, the one he used most frequently and most effectively was war. To war he attributed nothing less than the rise of the state, and before that, the successive political consolidations that led up to the state. If Spencer was not the first to propose this thesis, he was surely the first to substantiate it ... Spencer was no truculent militarist glorying in the feats of battle. On the contrary, he loathed war, and recognized its positive effects on political evolution only after overcoming his repugnance of it.
    Here's How the U.S. Can Help Rid the World of Chemical Weapons, by Sheldon Richman, 11 Sep 2013
    Argues that the U.S. government could set a better example by destroying all its chemical weapons, encouraging Israel and Egypt to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention, and itself ratifying the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions
    Although the United States has ratified the 20-year-old Chemical Weapons Convention, it has not destroyed its entire arsenal, as required under the CWC ... The CWC has no built-in enforcement provision, but the International Criminal Court in The Hague could be used to prosecute war criminals ... Here's something else the U.S. government could do: ratify the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which bans cluster bombs, those nasty weapons that can spread hundreds of unexploded bomblets that are capable of indiscriminately killing innocent children and adults years after the initial bombing.
    Related Topics: Israel, Syria, United States
    Heroic, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 23 Aug 2013
    Discusses the inspiring yet naïve actions of Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning when she realized she could no longer participate in the atrocities of war
    [A] forensic psychiatrist said,
    Well, Pfc Manning was under the impression that his leaked information was going to really change how the world views the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and future wars, actually. This was an attempt to crowdsource an analysis of the war, and it was his opinion that if ... through crowdsourcing, enough analysis was done on these documents, which he felt to be very important, that it would lead to a greater good ... that society as a whole would come to the conclusion that the war wasn't worth it ... that really no wars are worth it. [Emphasis added.]
    Related Topics: Ethics, Iraq War
    H. L. Mencken: The Joyous Libertarian, by Murray N. Rothbard, New Individualist Review, 1962
    Examines the themes and style in Mencken's writings, mainly from selected pieces in A Mencken Chrestomathy
    Mencken, in fact, was an arch "isolationist" who bitterly opposed American entry into both World Wars I and II ... Mencken's reaction to the dropping of the atom bomb was understandably bitter ... Mencken was particularly concerned with the well-nigh absolute suppression of civil liberties that seems inevitably to stem from participation in war, and in the conduct of World War I he saw the exemplar of his jaundiced view of democracy, the State, foreign intervention, and the common man.
    How Much Do You Know About Liberty? (a quiz), The Freeman, Jun 1996
    A 20-question quiz (with answers) on various topics related to liberty in the history of the United States
    15. Which three twentieth-century presidents promised to keep America out of war—but maneuvered in? ... Woodrow Wilson (1916), Franklin Roosevelt (1940), and Lyndon Johnson (1964) all promised the American people to stay out of war, then maneuvered in.
    How Star Wars Can Lead America Off the Dark Path, by Dan Sanchez, 4 May 2017
    Examines the first two Star Wars trilogies, drawing parallels to 20th and 21st century U.S. and world history, and draws lessons from the films that could help the United States from "giving in to the dark side"
    The overriding theme of the first trilogy is that the star wars engendered galactic tyranny. This is a perfectly realistic narrative motif, because it is merely an interstellar extrapolation of Randolph Bourne's insight that war is the health of the State ... Indeed, throughout history, rulers, regimes, and power cliques (just like Sidious and the Sith) have dragged their countries into wars in order to acquire, shore up, and enhance their power. This power play almost always works, because war activates in indoctrinated adherents of a State what Randolph Bourne called the "herd mind" ...
    I Can't Help That I'm a Libertarian, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 1 Aug 2014
    Explains why libertarians hold the beliefs they do, in contrast to political conventional wisdom, and why they cannot be silent about them
    And then there's war. How does one stand by in silence when one is forced by the tax collector to underwrite aggression around the world against the poorest individuals imaginable? Innocent people—so many children—are killed and maimed, their homes and communities shattered, with the bombs, bullets, mortar shells, tanks, airplanes, helicopter gunships, and drones paid for by you and me through a government that claims to act in our names—while lying as a matter of course. Who can know these things and not speak out—no matter how wearying that may be?
    Related Topics: Libertarianism, Logic, The State
    Immorality, Inc., by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., Mises Daily, 31 Jul 2006
    Argues that the lawlessness and violence in occupied Iraq is due to the immorality of modern day warfare and questions the claim that the U.S. invaded Iraq "to bring about freedom"
    War has been called a form of crime on a mass scale, and a particularly egregious form because it comes with the endorsement of elites. For centuries before ..., awareness of war's lawlessness led to a consensus that the conduct of war should be restrained by rules: fighting should be restricted to those in the employ of the states' military sectors, damage should be proportional, violence should not be wanton, negotiated settlements should be sought at all times. But in the modern age, all that changed. Civilians became targets. Cities were not spared. Proportionality is not a consideration.
    Related Topics: Ethics, Government, Iraq, Socialism
    Imperial Hopefuls, by Sheldon Richman, 22 Feb 2007
    Reflects on the intial stages of the 2008 United States presidential campaign, likening it to show biz and suggesting the candidates are running for the job of emperor
    If intervention is required, covert action is usually preferred to open military operations. But if all else fails, the military is available. "Shock and awe," even with nuclear weapons, is always an option. (This doesn't necessarily mean victory, however.) Presidents have claimed the authority to protect "American interests" abroad with or without Congress's approval. In the last 65 years the United States has had wars but no congressional declarations of war. You, the taxpayer, foot the ever larger bill and give up loved ones to the slaughter, but you are assured this is all for your safety.
    The Invisible Hand Is a Gentle Hand, by Sharon Harris, 14 Sep 1998
    Originally published at; defends the free market and individual liberty, quoting among others Bastiat, Thomas Jefferson, David and Milton Friedman, John Lott, Isabel Paterson, Proudhon, Adam Smith, Sowell, John Stossel and Walter Williams
    In a free society, we would also be far better protected from the violence of war. There would never be a military draft or senseless foreign wars. Never again would children be seized from their families—as if they were natural resources—and sent far away to risk their lives. Never again would wives and mothers stand crying as they watch their conscripted husbands and sons come home in body bags. No more war-orphaned children ... Free trade also discourages war and makes friends instead. As Bastiat said, "When goods don't cross borders, soldiers will."
    The Iraq War Crash, by Justin Raimondo, 2 Mar 2007
    Discusses a 9% drop in the Shanghai Stock Exchange on 27 Feb 2007, which also affected other markets, in the context of the Iraq War and a potential conflict with Iran
    The prosperity we lost is not as great as it might have been: this is due entirely to the war. Resources that might otherwise be engaged in the peaceful production of consumer goods are diverted and frozen in the form of fighter jets, aircraft carriers, and cluster bombs, whose only product is death. What characterizes war, aside from the mass death and horror, is sheer waste. We have seen the body-bags come home, and their increasing number has made us sit up and take notice. Once the economic consequences begin to kick in, however, we're likely to hear some real howling.
    I Resign From the Mont Pelerin Society, by Paul Craig Roberts, 21 Aug 2008
    Explains Roberts' rationale for resigning from the Mont Pelerin Society, prompted in particular by events in South Ossetia
    As far as I am aware, the MPS has not ... taken exception to US wars of aggression in behalf of undeclared agendas ... The US strategic objective—to ring Russia with bases and puppet states in order to exercise hegemony over Russia—will lead to war, the destruction of liberty and perhaps life on earth. This gratuitously insane neoconservative foreign policy is one that will lead to nuclear war. It stands in total contradiction to the alleged values of the Mont Pelerin Society. As every great libertarian and the founding members of the MPS acknowledged, war is the greatest enemy of liberty.
    Is Capitalism Why We Fight?, by Gregory Bresiger, Mises Daily, 6 Apr 2006
    Critical review of the theses presented in the 2005 documentary Why We Fight, also inquirying about topics omitted from the film
    War, and its concomitant inflation, is bad for those capitalists who are not on the government dole, bad for those who are not court intellectuals, bad for anyone who isn't an enthusiastic part of Leviathan. Indeed, if one goes by the stock market, probably the worst extended recent period was in the mid 1960s to mid 1970s during the height of the Vietnam War ... Senator Robert Taft ... also warned, in a sentiment that all liberty-loving people should remember, that "a man who is against war when everyone else is for war becomes very unpopular indeed."
    Is This Really War?, by Sheldon Richman, 16 Jun 2006
    Discusses the Haditha killings and argues that U.S. troops in Iraq were acting more as a police force for the new Iraqi regime, which was incompatible with their military training
    One could argue that American forces were at war, albeit unnecessarily and illegally, when they first invaded Iraq and sought to unseat the regime of Saddam Hussein. But after the government fell, was it still war? Or was it simply an occupation in which foreign troops sought to maintain order and suppress any resistance to the invaders and the government it helped to establish? [The latter] seems closer to the mark. The troops are fighting, but the countries are not actually at war as we normally think of that term. But in that case, much of its work is similar to that of a police force.
    John Bright: Voice of Victorian Liberalism, by Nicholas Elliott, The Freeman, Aug 1988
    Biographical essay, discussing in detail many of Bright's activities, in and out of Parliament, such as the repeal of the Corn Laws, opposition to the Crimean War, his view on colonial India and the United States, Parliamentary reform and Ireland
    For Bright, Cobden, and other leaders of the "Manchester School," free trade was inseparable from a pacific foreign policy ... They rejected the argument that foreign alliances were needed to enforce a "balance of power" in Europe, and warned that such alliances would drag Britain into future conflicts ... Common people would suffer from the burden of taxes to fund foreign adventures ... As the [Crimean] war continued, Bright became deeply distressed by the loss of life: 22,000 British soldiers died, but only 4000 in action; the rest died from malnutrition, exposure, and disease.
    John Kerry's Tender Sensibilities, by Kevin Carson, 29 Aug 2013
    Highlights the hypocrisy of State Secretary Kerry's comments on violation of international norms in Syria vis-à-vis the U.S.'s record in previous wars
    Hopefully CNN will try extra hard to sanitize the war footage from Syria once the bombing starts, now that we know how badly dead Syrian kids upset Kerry ... In short, the United States simply does not give a rip about Saddam, Assad, or anyone else using chemical weapons or committing war crimes of any kind. The US routinely supports regimes that engage in war crimes—and then publicly condemns them for war crimes only when they stop taking orders from Washington or otherwise become a liability. War crimes by official enemies are just a propaganda point for selling wars to the public.
    Related Topics: Iraq, Vietnam War, World War II
    The Justice and Prudence of War: Toward A Libertarian Analysis, by Roderick T. Long, Mises Daily, 20 Sep 2006
    Examines the ethics of war from a libertarian viewpoint, considering both deontological (is war itself right or wrong) and consequentialist (are war's consequences right or wrong) perspectives
    [A] consistent libertarian theory of warfare must apply the same prohibitions and permissions to governments and private individuals alike ... A libertarian analysis of war must take into account not only the actual conduct of warfare but also the means of supplying the war machine. Under libertarian equality, funding a military through taxation is ruled out, as is manning it with slave labor. Conscription is obviously incompatible with libertarian principles; but even ordinary military contracts violate the inalienable right to quit one's job at will.
    Killing Iraqi Children, by Jacob G. Hornberger, 19 Jun 2006
    Comments on a Detroit News editorial condoning the bombing, rather than the arrest and prosecution, of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and the "collateral" death of a five-year old girl
    Some would argue that such "collateral damage" is just an unfortunate byproduct of war. War is brutal. People get killed in war. Compared with the two world wars, not that many people have been killed in Iraq, proponents of the Iraq war ... would claim. [They] miss an important point: U.S. military forces have no right, legal or moral, even to be in Iraq ... [N]either the Iraqi people nor their government ever attacked the United States ... [T]his was an optional war ... that President Bush ... did not have to wage ... Don't forget that aggressive war was punished as a war crime at Nuremberg.
    Libertarian GOP defection?, by Bruce Bartlett, The Washington Times, 13 Dec 2006
    Discusses the history of the libertarian movement from 1969, when the split from Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) occurred, to the mid-2000s, and ponders the impact of many libertarians leaving the Republican Party
    Basically, libertarians ... favor a noninterventionist foreign policy ... In 1969, the key issue was obviously the Vietnam War. The traditionalists supported it, the libertarians opposed it ... But with the end of the Vietnam War and the huge rise of inflation and other economic problems in the 1970s, libertarians mostly tended to drift rightward ... [A] new generation of Puritans have taken over the [Republican] party ... [T]he Iraq war has aroused the isolationist impulse among libertarians. Only a tiny number of them supported the war in the first place and they have all now recanted.
    Libertarianism and the Great Divide, by Justin Raimondo, 16 Mar 2007
    Review of Brian Doherty's Radicals for Capitalism (2007) concluding with remarks about a Cato Unbound debate on the book
    A central premise of the War Party has been that we need to surrender our liberties here at home in order to conduct a global crusade against the terrorist enemy: the "Patriot" Act, the Military Commissions Act ... have all been justified in the name of "national security" in wartime. The libertarian insight expressed so succinctly by Randolph Bourne ... has never been more relevant, and war revisionism–that is, the revision of the "official" (i.e. government-approved) version of events leading up to the war–is essential in understanding both the methods and motives of our rulers.
    Libertarianism and the War, by Justin Raimondo, 2 Apr 2007
    Criticizes a Cato Unbound symposium titled "Libertarianism: Past and Prospects" with contributed essays from Brian Doherty, Brink Lindsey, Tyler Cowen, Tom G. Palmer and Virginia Postrel
    This necessary passion [for justice, as expressed by Rothbard,] is nowhere more pronounced, and even pure, than in the libertarian opposition to war. In war, the state is acting entirely according to its essential nature as an instrument of coercion. At no time other than war is it more readily apparent that states are agencies of aggression, and that this represents a human evil. On other occasions, governments and their apologists may dress up the consequences of state action as somehow beneficial or just, but making this statement while surveying a battlefield is a difficult task.
    Libertarianism: Left or Right?, by Sheldon Richman, Freedom Daily, Jun 2007
    Examines the origin of the political terms "left" and "right" and makes the case that libertarianism is "planted squarely on the Left"
    Libertarians also showed their Left colors by opposing imperialism, war, and the accompanying violations of civil liberties, such as conscription and arbitrary detention. (See, for example, the writings of Bastiat, Cobden, and Bright.) Indeed, they didn't simply condemn war as misguided; they also identified it as a key method by which the ruling class exploits the domestic industrious classes (not to mention the foreign victims) for its own wealth and glorification. Libertarianism and the anti-war movement went hand in hand from the start.
    The Libertarians' Albatross, by Butler Shaffer, 3 Nov 2004
    Recounts Shaffer's introduction to objectivism and provides critical analysis of the philosophy's shortcomings, highlighting Objectivists support of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars and the "war on terror" and disregard of innocent casualties
    [L]ibertarian thinking is ... open. Religious and anti-religious views are tolerated; differences of opinion are heard ... There is, however, a threshold point whose transgression can never be tolerated by those who value peace and liberty: support for wars. To defend the war system is to defend statism in its most vicious and dehumanized manifestation. "War is the health of the state," declared Randolph Bourne; and those who are aware of the dynamics of how political systems actually operate ... will, if peace and liberty concern them, make no concessions to such practices.
    Ludwig von Mises, socialism's greatest enemy, by Jim Powell, 2000
    Lengthy biographical essay on Mises, including details on Menger and Böhm-Bawerk; alternate version of "Planned Chaos" chapter of The Triumph of Liberty (2000)
    Mises made a case for peace: "What alone enables mankind to advance and distinguishes man from the animals is social cooperation. It is labor alone that is productive: it creates wealth and ... lays the outward foundations for the inward flowering of man. War only destroys; it cannot create. War, carnage, destruction, and devastation we have in common with the predatory beasts ...; constructive labor is our distinctively human characteristic. The liberal abhors war, not, like the humanitarian, in spite of the fact that it has beneficial consequences, but because it has only harmful ones."
    Lysander Spooner (1808-1887) and Foreign Policy, by Joseph R. Stromberg, 8 May 2000
    Begins wih biographical summary and then delves into Spooner's views on slavery, the U.S. Constitution and the War Between the States
    Spooner stressed how the government-allied bankers had made a hateful war possible: "This business of lending blood money is one of the most thoroughly sordid, cold-blooded, and criminal that was ever carried on, to any considerable extent, amongst human beings. It is like lending money to slave traders, or to common robbers and pirates, to be repaid out of their plunder ..." ... [Lincoln's] war had been fought to establish an absolute sovereignty of the central government ... over what it claimed as its constituent elements–and every inch of territory and every person within those.
    Machiavelli and U.S. Politics, Part 4: War, by Lawrence M. Ludlow, 22 Aug 2005
    Part of a six-segment series examining The Prince vis-à-vis contemporary U.S. politics; this article covers Machiavelli's simple advice on war and contrasts it with that of James Madison and Robert Higgs in Crisis and Leviathan
    Unfortunately, this Bush administration—much as the Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, the first Bush, and Clinton administrations—failed to take into account the resentment generated when invaders embark on wars of aggression in the homelands of other people. The writer Gore Vidal, however, has made up for this oversight. In his book Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace Vidal lists 201 U.S. military operations that took place between the victory over Japan in 1945 and the attacks of September 11. The list was compiled by the Federation of American Scientists. Think of it: 201 conflicts since 1945.
    Martin Van Buren: The Greatest American President [PDF], by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, The Independent Review, 1999
    Discusses the Van Buren presidency and why he should be considered "the greatest president in American history", even when compared to other nonactivist presidents
    [Conventional historians] have a particular weakness for wartime presidents. Unless the commander in chief turns out to be utterly inept, war allows him to show off forceful, dynamic leadership. In a 1961 collection of scholarly articles titled America's Ten Greatest Presidents, for instance, half the subjects were presidents who had dragged the country into war. And when the collection was revised ten years later and published as America's Eleven Greatest Presidents, the addition was Harry Truman, a president whose reign spread over two hot wars plus a cold war.
    A Matter of Conscience, by Kevin Benderman, 18 Jan 2005
    A ten-year veteran and Army Sergeant explains why he refused to deploy to Iraq for a second time
    Having read numerous books on the subject of war and having heard all the arguments for war, I have come to the conclusion that there are no valid arguments for the destructive force of war. People are destroyed, nations are destroyed, and yet we continue on with war ... I cannot tell anyone else how to live his or her life but I have determined how I want to live mine–by not participating in war any longer, as I feel that it is stupid and that it is against everything that is good about the world.
    Related Topic: Children
    Memorializing the Horrors of War with 10 Must-See War Films, by John W. Whitehead, 27 May 2016
    Comments on the events of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and on more recent wars, then suggests ten films that focus on "the nasty business of war"; ends by contrasting Obama's and Martin Luther King's Nobel Peace Prize speeches
    Americans are fed a steady diet of pro-war propaganda that keeps them content to wave flags with patriotic fervor and less inclined to look too closely at the mounting body counts, the ruined lives, the ravaged countries, the blowback arising from ill-advised targeted-drone killings and bombing campaigns in foreign lands, and the transformation of our own homeland into a warzone ... Yet war is a grisly business, a horror of epic proportions. In terms of human carnage alone, war’s devastation is staggering ... War sustains our way of life while killing us at the same time.
    Mises: Defender of Freedom, by George Reisman, Mises Daily, 29 Sep 2006
    Written on the 125th anniversary of his birth, describes several of Mises' contributions to economics theory and other areas, along with some of Reisman's personal reminiscences
    On the basis of such facts, Mises argued against the possibility of inherent conflicts of interest among races and nations, as well as among individuals ... He argued with unanswerable logic that the economic causes of war are the result of government interference, in the form of trade and migration barriers, and that such interference restricting foreign economic relations is the product of other government interference, restricting domestic economic activity ... He showed that the foundation of world peace is a policy of laissez-faire both domestically and internationally.
    The Most Dreaded Enemy of Liberty, by James Madison, Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, 20 Apr 1795
    From a longer essay titled "Political Observations", the selected passage reflects on the nature of war and the provisions in the U. S. Constitution about declaring war, conducting war and raising armies; excerpted in Freedom Daily, Aug 1993
    Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people.
    Mr. Bush's War, by Murray N. Rothbard, The Rothbard-Rockwell Report, Oct 1990
    Starts off as a tongue-in-cheek analysis of the rationale for the Gulf War, but then delves into more serious reasons, including the Saudi, petroleum and Rockefeller connections
    The 18th and 19th century "laws of war," ... brilliantly separate "government" and "military" from 'civilian." Treating war as a conflict between governments or states, the laws of war bade governments not to injure civilians but only to injure each other As far as possible, then, warfare was to be confined to military or governmental targets; civilians were not to serve as targets of war ... In the Iraq War, however, Mr. Bush is specifically targeting the shipment of food: in a deliberate, brutal, and truly barbaric effort to inflict starvation on the mass of Iraqi peoples.
    Murray N. Rothbard: Mr. Libertarian, by Wendy McElroy, 6 Jul 2000
    A tribute to Rothbard as a "system builder," an integrator of multiple disciplines into a "philosophy of freedom"; examines several of Rothbard's essays and books
    Having noted elsewhere that war is the single most destructive Statist activity–both to individualism and to morality–[Rothbard] aimed at the essential task of constructing a countervailing "libertarian theory of war and peace." [He] applied the "axiom of non-aggression to an area where most Libertarians have been weakest: war and foreign policy." With a policy of "no compromise," [he] consistently applied the principle "it is completely impermissible to violate the rights of other innocent people," and concluded that libertarians should condemn "all wars, regardless of motive."
    The Myth of War Prosperity, Part 1, by Anthony Gregory, Freedom Daily, Dec 2006
    Introduction to the review of Depression, War, and Cold War: Studies in Political Economy (2006) by Robert Higgs
    During the run-up to the Iraq war, ... [s]ome suggested the war might be generally good for the American economy ... Hawks will sometimes argue that, along with securing justice and peace, a war will give a much-needed boost to production and thus bolster the economic health of the country. Leftist cynics will also sometimes say war benefits the economy, as if the United States were a classic imperial power that wages war primarily to loot resources ... This cynicism is not hard to understand—Secretary of State James Baker once said that the Gulf War was mainly about "jobs, jobs, jobs."
    NATO's Balkans Disaster and Wilsonian Warmongering, Part 1, by Doug Bandow, Freedom Daily, Jul 1999
    Analyzes NATO's actions in the Kosovo War in light of the U.S. constitution, the NATO accord and the UN Charter
    First, the administration illegally embarked upon war ... Far worse, however, was ... inaugurating war against another sovereign state. In doing so, [president Clinton] acted unilaterally, without the approval of Congress ... Although the administration seems to believe that all of these requirements are outmoded in today's world, the administration's calamitous bungling in Kosovo illustrates why war should require congressional approval, NATO should remain a defensive alliance, and the UN Charter properly outlaws aggressive war, irrespective of the goodness of the expressed intentions.
    NATO's Balkans Disaster and Wilsonian Warmongering, Part 2, by Doug Bandow, Freedom Daily, Aug 1999
    Considers possible justifications for war vis-à-vis NATO's involvement in the conflict between Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) and the Kosovo Liberation Army
    What is the proper standard for making war? That is, what justifies the United States's taking the extreme step of unleashing death and destruction on another people? Traditionally it has been a military threat against it. Yet Yugoslavia did nothing against America or any of its allies. Grant that Serbian treatment of Kosovars has been atrocious ... Is war the right remedy in those cases? Indeed, the administration did not threaten war to stop human-rights abuses. Rather, it wanted to force compliance with an international diktat to establish an unstable, jerryrigged autonomous government ...
    Related Topics: Balkans, Europe, Russia, Serbia
    Natural Law and Peace: A Biography of Hugo Grotius, by Jim Powell, 4 Jul 2000
    Biographical essay; alternative version of chapter "Natural Law and Peace" in section 3, "Peace", of The Triumph of Liberty (2000)
    If war can't always be avoided, Grotius pleaded that at least the killing and destruction must be limited. He believed "it is folly, and worse than folly, wantonly to hurt another ... War is a matter of gravest importance, because so many calamities usually follow in its train, even upon the head of the innocent. So, where counsels conflict we ought to incline toward peace ... It is often a duty, which we owe to our country and ourselves, to forbear having recourse to arms ... [The] conquered should be treated with clemency, in order that the interests of each may become the interests of both."
    Related Topics: Hugo Grotius, Law, Netherlands, Rights
    New Declaration of Independence, by Vince Miller, Jarret Wollstein, Jan 2000
    Prefaced by quoting the second paragraph of the original Declaration, lists—in a manner similar to the original—the outrages of the "modern American State" (referred to as "They") and ending with a list of demands
    • In direct violation of the Constitution, US troops have repeatedly invaded and reduced foreign countries to ruin without declaration of war by Congress. They have used force to compel our children to fight and die in foreign wars far removed from their homes ...
    • They have ... exported massive quantities of weapons of death and destruction—fomenting discord, repression and war throughout the world.
    • In the name of "peacekeeping" and assisting other nations, they have illegally waged war on many nations and innocent peoples, committing mass murder in the name of peace ...
    No More "Great Presidents", by Robert Higgs, The Free Market, Mar 1997
    Discusses the results of a 1996 poll of historians asking them to rank U.S. presidents, focusing on those ranked Great, Near Great and Failure, and offers his own ranking
    One need not ponder the rankings long ... to discover a remarkable correlation: all but one of the presidents ranked as Great or Near Great had an intimate association with war, either in office or by reputation before taking office. Of the top-ranking "nine immortals," five (Lincoln, FDR, Polk, Wilson, and Truman) were commander in chief when the nation went to war, and three ... were best known prior to becoming president for their martial exploits ... The president is to act as commander in chief of the army and navy, but Congress alone can commit the nation to war, that is, "declare war."
    Obama and Kerry Jeopardize Peace with Iran, by Sheldon Richman, 30 Jan 2014
    Examines pronouncements by U.S. Secretary of State Kerry and President Obama that put in doubt their stated intentions of reaching a peace agreement with Iran
    Barack Obama and John Kerry should make up their minds: Do they want war or peace with Iran? ... Clearly, a war would be catastrophic on many levels for nearly all concerned ... (I say "nearly all" because opportunistic rulers in Israel and Saudi Arabia could benefit.) ... Kerry recently said that "the military option that is available ... is ready and prepared to do what it would have to do." Threatening war hardly demonstrates the spirit of peace-making ... Obama ... called on Israel and Saudi Arabia to focus on their common bond against Iran. That doesn't sound like a man seeking peace.
    Related Topics: Iran, Middle East, Barack Obama
    Obama Follows Bush's Iraq Playbook, by Sheldon Richman, 10 Sep 2014
    Examines the validity of Obama's arguments for going to war against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) in response to the beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff in Aug/Sep 2014
    No decent person is anything but appalled by those executions. But are they grounds for [going] to war? ... True, since the end of World War II, presidents have assumed the unilateral power to make war, and most members of Congress have been more than happy to defer ... Obama says he can go to war against ISIS anywhere without "authorization" from Congress ... But understanding ... and debating are not the same as authorizing ... It may be taken for granted that a president can go to war when an American is killed overseas, but that kind of power is too dangerous to accept meekly.
    On Conscription [PDF], by Daniel Webster, 9 Dec 1814
    Condensed from speech before the U.S. House of Representatives, given in opposition to bill proposing conscription during the War of 1812, reprinted in Left and Right in 1965, during the Vietnam War
    The battles which [the subject of military draft] is to fight are the battles of invasion; battles which he detests perhaps and abhors, less from the danger and the death that gather over them, and the blood with which they drench the plain, than from the principles in which they have their origin. If, Sir, in this strife he fall—if, while ready to obey every rightful command of Government, he is forced from home against right, not to contend for the defense of his country, but to prosecute a miserable and detestable project of invasion, and in that strife he fall, 'tis murder.
    The Open Society and Its Worst Enemies, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 16 Jan 2015
    Considers the 7-9 January 2015 attacks in Paris and contrasts the choice between an open, free society and imperialistic, militaristic foreign intervention
    A government that repeatedly wages wars of aggression—the most extreme form of extremism—endangers the society it ostensibly protects by gratuitously making enemies, some of whom will seek revenge against those who tolerate, finance, and symbolize that government ... Cobden taught ... security is served by nonintervention and free trade. This gives the lie to the claim of the war party, the neoconservatives, and the so-called liberal interventionists that making war on the Muslim world is necessary to protect "our way of life." On the contrary, such a policy threatens our way of life ...
    Paine, Thomas (1737-1809), by David Fitzsimons, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical and bibliographical essay discussing the main themes in Paine's writings
    In Paine's view, war was, in part, an attempt by the plundering classes to increase revenue through the conquest of territories whose productive members could be exploited. At the same time, these wars of conquest served to distract a nation's own productive classes ... [W]ar was an attempt by the plundering classes to increase taxation ... by creating a crisis in which national humiliation or annihilation might result should increased taxes be resisted. In summary, war was perpetrated by the plundering classes at the expense of the productive classes to further their exploitation.
    Related Topics: Thomas Paine, Free trade, The State
    The People Say No to War, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 13 Sep 2013
    Comments on how the American people, through calls and emails to Congress and opinion polls, stopped, at least momentarily, the Obama administration from going to war with Syria
    Obama, his top advisers, and many of his partisans and opponents in Congress insist that the president of the United States has the constitutional authority to attack another country without a declaration of war ... even if that country poses no threat whatever ... This seems wrong, especially in light of the 1973 War Powers Act. But Obama already asserted this alleged authority in Libya. Bill Clinton did it in Kosovo and Bosnia through NATO and the UN. George H.W. Bush did it in Panama. Ronald Reagan did it in Lebanon and Grenada. And so on back to Harry Truman in Korea.
    Preventing Opposition to War, by Sheldon Richman, 13 Apr 2007
    Explains why the Bush administration has not gotten more people directly involved in its foreign wars, such as by demanding "sacrifices" or re-instituting conscription, and points out the paradox that increased involvement could cause more war opposition
    To understand, we need to think about the nature of war as a political instrument—for at its core, that is what it is ... [W]ar is a device by which a ruling class not only expands its power ..., but also distracts the domestic population from the exploitation perpetrated ... War can be highly useful to this cause because in time the taxpayers may begin to catch on to the scam that drains their wealth. If they can be made to fear that an external enemy threatens their safety, they will happily trust their rulers with more power and money and ignore the occasional overt corruption.
    Related Topic: The State
    Preventing War with Iran Is Top Priority, by Sheldon Richman, 13 Nov 2013
    After a brief look at Iraq, Libya, Syria and North Korea, examines the 2013 situation between the Obama administration and Israel on one side and Iran on the other
    Why ... do President Obama and Israel's prime minister ... refuse to take war against the Iranian people off the table? ... [T]he American people and the Israeli government have entirely different interests ... Americans have no interest whatever in war with Iran. Countless noncombatants, not to mention U.S. military personnel, would be killed or maimed, and economic well-being would be shaken by the disruption of oil production and trade. This wouldn't be good for the people of Israel either, although their hawkish ruling elite and its boosters in America ... apparently think otherwise.
    Related Topics: Iran, Israel
    Rambo Was A Chump: John Kerry Should Be Ashamed of Vietnam Service, by Ted Rall, 27 Aug 2004
    Discusses comments made by then Senator and presidential candidate John Kerry about the 2003 Iraq war, including the change in his Senate appropriations voting record, and the Vietnam War
    Serious people and historians know that Kerry was right the first time around. Like Iraq, Vietnam was an ill-conceived, doomed war that wasted countless lives for no good reason, launched by a president who lied about a Cold War threat (the absurd "domino theory") that simply didn't exist. As U.S. troops are doing now in Iraq, we committed horrific atrocities in Vietnam. Not only did the guys in black pajamas beat us fair and square, we deserved it. We were wrong. We deserved to lose. Service in the wars against Vietnam and Iraq are nothing to be proud of.
    Related Topics: Iraq War, Vietnam War
    The Real 'Existential Threat', by Justin Raimondo, 30 Mar 2007
    Comments on media coverage of the Iranian seizure of British Royal Navy personnel in the Persian Gulf and subsequent political maneuvering
    It's amazing that the War Party, after ... invading Iraq, can mobilize its forces to make yet another go of it ... It doesn't seem possible that we are being pushed into a bigger and far more destructive conflict ... The coming war with Iran will not end until the entire region is aflame–with the fire spreading to three continents, and beyond. Is this the price the world is willing to pay to put an end to the "existential threat" to Israel? Or will our rulers pause, before plunging into an abyss, to ask: what about the existential threat to the rest of the world?
    Related Topics: Democratic Party, Iran, Israel
    Richard Cobden's Triumphant Crusade for Free Trade and Peace, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Jun 1995
    Extensive biographical essay, including Cobden's relationship with John Bright as they campaigned for repeal of the Corn Laws, and his later peace activism
    In 1854, [Lord] Palmerston plunged England into the Crimean War, purportedly to maintain the balance of power by saving the corrupt Turkish empire from grasping Russia which had just ravaged Hungary ... The two-year war turned out to be a pointless bloodbath which cost the lives of some 25,000 English soldiers ... For several decades, English foreign policy returned to non-intervention as Cobden and Bright had advocated. England stayed out of the Franco-Austrian War, the American Civil War, the Danish War, the FrancoGerman War, and later wars between Turkey and Russia.
    Richard Maybury - Libertarian, by Bill Winter, - The Advocates for Self-Government
    Short biographical profile; includes photograph and quote
    Maybury is also the publisher of U.S. & World Early Warning Report For Investors (EWR) newsletter ... In EWR, Maybury tells clients how they can profit from the U.S.'s hazardous foreign policy. "War is the most reliable economic and investment trend," he said. "EWR has long recommended investments that profit from war: real estate, raw materials, certain foreign currencies, precious metals, and defense stocks. We can't stop this insanity, so we might as well make money from it."
    Rings of War, by Charley Reese, 1 Jan 2007
    Reflects on war as concentric rings with soldiers in the center and the general public in the outer circle, criticizing George W. Bush and Congress for not ending the 2003 Iraq War and suggesting a general tax for future wars as incentive to end them
    Think of a war as a violent center of a circle with concentric rings of people surrounding it. At the center are the soldiers who have to fight the war. In the next ring are the people whose loved ones are doing the fighting. In the third ring, at a safe distance, are the politicians who started the war ... The seventh and final ring of people includes the majority of Americans, who have no direct interest in the war ... To these people, a war in a distant place is like a television show that they can watch in the comfort of their living room. The war has no effect on their lives ...
    The Rocky Road of American Taxation, by Charles Adams, Mises Daily, 15 Apr 2006
    Adapted from the author's For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization; examines tax resistance in colonial America up to the Jefferson presidency
    Did the term "common Defence" mean that military expenditures could only be made for defense? That is, no funds for aggressive wars? That is exactly what the Framers were talking about. In The Federalist, No. 34, Hamilton said they were embarking on a "novel experiment in politics, of tying up the hands of government from offensive war, founded on reasons of state ..." ... Looking back over the past two hundred years of American history it is obvious there were a number of wars that were not defensive, but were in Hamilton's category of "offensive war, founded on reasons of state."
    Selections from Lao-tzu (Laozi): Tao Te Ching (Daode-jing), by Lǎozǐ
    Thirty-seven translated excerpts from the Dào Dé Jīng, unidentified as to chapter or source [however, the translator appears to be professor A. Charles Muller at]
    Victory is never sweet.
    Those for whom victory is sweet
    Are those who enjoy killing.
    If you enjoy killing, you cannot gain the trust of the people.
    On auspicious occasions the place of honor is on the left.
    On inauspicious occasions the place of honor is on the right.
    The lieutenant commander stands on the left.
    The commander-in-chief stands on the right.
    And they speak, using the funerary rites to bury them.
    The common people, from whom all the dead have come
    Weep in lamentation.
    The victors bury them with funerary rites. [from Chapter 31]
    Related Topics: Government, Taxation
    Sgt. Bergdahl and the Fog of War, by Sheldon Richman, 4 Jun 2014
    Reviews the history of U.S.-Afghanistan relationship since Reagan to the release of Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. Army sergeant held captive by a Taliban group from 2009 to 2014
    The "fog of war" is a reference to the moral chaos on the battlefield as well as the rampant confusion. Individuals kill others for no other reason than that they are ordered to. Things deemed unambiguously bad in civilian life are authorized and even lauded in war. The killing and maiming of acknowledged innocents—in particular children and the elderly—is excused as "collateral damage." No wonder that some individuals thrust into this morass sometimes act differently from how soldiers behave in romantic war movies. The hell of war is internal as well as external.
    Smedley Butler and the Racket That Is War, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 27 Jun 2014
    Reviews U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler's writings, particularly War Is a Racket (1935) and the constitutional "Amendment for Peace"
    Butler opened [War Is a Racket] with these words:
    War is a racket. It always has been.
    It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
    ... [He] went on to describe who bears the costs of war—the men who die or return home with wrecked lives, and the taxpayers—and who profits ... Butler detailed the huge profits of companies that sold goods to the government during past wars and interventions ...
    So What If Freedom Isn't Free?, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 31 May 2013
    Examines the assertion "Freedom isn't free" from the viewpoint of free will, negative or positive rights, resource scarcity and common usage
    It's considered ungrateful, if not disloyal, to even wonder if a particular war really had anything to do with protecting freedom ... Similarly, opponents of the Iraq war feel obliged to thank vets of that war for their "service to our country." How can fighting in an aggressive war constitute such service? No war fought by the U.S. government was about protecting the lives and freedom of Americans ... The biggest threat to Americans has always been "their" own government. Countries don't call men and women to war. Hack politicians with agendas do.
    Standing armies, political mischief, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., WorldNetDaily, 5 Oct 2000
    Discusses a poll by the Wall Street Journal about a possible "October Surprise" that would bolster the presidential aspirations of Al Gore
    What trick will Clinton pull this month? ... [T]he top guess, with 156 entries, was war. Of course. No president ever went to war believing it would be bad politics ... [T]he libertarian and "paleo" Right worked with principled members of the Old Left to forge a new approach to understanding the role of the warfare state ... We were regarded as a politically eccentric bunch back then–isn't the Right supposed to love war? ... Moreover, "of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other" (James Madison).
    Stop the Cannon Fodder, by Charley Reese,, 27 Jan 2007
    Individual soldiers who survive combat often come home to realize that all of the horrific and heroic actions they took don't mean anything. Vietnam, for example, is ruled by a communist government. Nobody but a historian even remembers what World War I was all about, much less the 10 million young men who died fighting it. World War II and Korea are likewise fading from public memory ... American veterans, like the veterans of other modern wars since 1945, will conclude that all they did turned out to be meaningless.
    Related Topics: Children, Iraq
    Take the Constitution Seriously in the Second Term, by Sheldon Richman, 8 Nov 2004
    Suggests a plan of action for George W. Bush upon being inaugurated (and swearing his oath of office) for a second term as U.S. President
    The president ... is commander in chief of the armed forces and the state militias when called. Note two things to about this last power: He is not our commander in chief, as people seem to believe, and second, being commander does not include the power to declare war. That power was reserved, exclusively, to the Congress. This will be news to many, especially in Washington ... Bush should get out of Iraq as soon as possible. This was never a defensive war, and it was not declared by Congress. It's unconstitutional. So is trying to remake the Middle East.
    That Death Toll, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., 21 Jun 2006
    Comments on White House Press Secretary Tony Snow's remark ("It's a number") about the death of the 2,500th American soldier in the 2003 Iraq War
    What is the life of a soldier worth and what are the incentives to preserve it? In modern nation-state warfare, soldiers are fodder. This follows directly from the prevailing theory of government that war should be total. Before the 19th century, wrote Mises, "only the soldiers fight; for the great majority war is only a passing suffering of evil, not an active pursuit." Soldiers were direct employees of the sovereign ... A king who expended their lives wantonly would run out of resources or be deposed. Today, mobilization in war is total, and all citizens are expected to pay the price.
    Related Topics: George W. Bush, Iraq War
    They Lied About the Reasons for Going to War, by Jacob G. Hornberger, 23 Oct 2006
    Examines various items of circumstancial evidence that would lead most reasonable people to conclude that George W. Bush and his administration lied about the rationales for invading Iraq in 2003, and then explores the real purpose behind the invasion
    Ask yourself: If the nation was really under threat of an imminent attack, would U.S. officials be concerned with developing a marketing plan for getting people behind the war effort? Would they be thinking that August would not be a good month for telling people ...? How likely is that? Not likely at all. If an enemy nation was truly preparing to strike the United States with WMDs, ... U.S. officials would immediately begin preparing the preemptive strike, ... and would gravely inform the American people ... There would be no reason to try ... to sell the necessity of going to war ...
    Related Topics: George W. Bush, Iraq, Iraq War
    Thomas Paine on Commerce, by Gary M. Galles, Mises Daily, 16 May 2003
    Selection of Thomas Paine quotes, from The Rights of Man, on trade, particularly between different nations and contrasted with war
    • The inhabitants of every country, under the civilization of laws, easily civilize together, but governments being yet in an uncivilized state, and almost continually at war, they pervert the abundance which civilized life produces to carry on the uncivilized part to a greater extent ... It affords to them pretenses for power, and revenue ...
    • ... If commerce were permitted to act to the universal extent it is capable, it would extirpate the system of war, and produce a revolution in the uncivilized state of governments.
    Related Topics: England, Free trade, Thomas Paine
    The Top 25 Liberty Songs, by Bill Winter, Libertarian Party News, Aug 2001
    List of 25 "Liberty's Best Songs" chosen from over 200 suggestions, each with a short summary and highlighted lyrics, and a supplementary list of 25 runners-up
    Written by Australian folk singer Eric Bogle, the song describes Australian soldiers marching off to the Empire's Great War in Europe—which would be eclipsed, of course, by an even "greater" war just 25 years later—and coming home "armless, legless, blind and insane." War isn't just "another government program," as Joseph Sobran has written, but its bloodiest, most senseless and self-aggrandizing program ... [T]he Pogues express this libertarian sentiment in especially poignant fashion. This may be, quite simply, the finest anti-war song ever written.
    Treating People Like Garbage, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 4 Oct 2013
    Prompted by the "closing" of the U.S. government during Oct 2013, examines two examples of how the state behaves towards people: an Iraq war veteran and his family, and the genocide of Bengalis in March 1971, with the support of Nixon and Kissinger
    The other day I saw a commercial for the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that renders assistance to veterans injured in the recent American wars. It shows a former member of the armed forces who sustained a serious head injury "when his Humvee was blown up in Iraq." ... I also thought, "Why are we taxpayers forced to pay men and women to jeopardize their kids' well-being by going off to make war in foreign lands?" Some adults may be fool enough to buy the government's propaganda about "serving their country," but must we who know better be forced to participate in this atrocity?
    Truman, A-Bombs, and the Killing of Innocents, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 9 Aug 2013
    Written on the 68th anniversary of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, discusses whether that bombing and the previous one at Hiroshima were really necessary and whether they should be considered war crimes
    America could have ... simply gone home, neither bombing nor invading [Japan] ... [W]e should also reject the article of faith that the attack on Pearl Harbor justified the American war against Japan. Even had the attack not been deliberately provoked or ... foreseen by the Roosevelt administration, it could not have justified the American state's taxation, conscription, suppression of dissent, and the foreseeable mass killing of noncombatants. (All wars are double wars: States wage war against the populations they rule as well as against the foreign populations of the opposing countries.)
    Related Topics: Ethics, Japan, World War II
    Two-dimensional libertarianism, by Anthony Gregory, Rational Review, 30 Sep 2004
    Questions the usefulness of the two-dimensional Nolan Chart and the World's Smallest Political Quiz and advocates instead a one-dimensional liberty vs. power spectrum
    [T]he World's Smallest Political Quiz asks no questions about, and the Nolan Chart plots no answers concerning ... war! ... [I]ndeed, including one or more questions on war would severely complicate the two-dimensional graph. It is unclear whether conservatives or liberals believe more in war. It often depends on what kind of war. Hawkish conservatives like slaughtering civilians to demonstrate how much the US kicks butt. Hawkish liberals like slaughtering civilians to show how humanitarian the US is. "Neo-libertarians" use civilian slaughter as a measurement of how free we are.
    U.S. Has No Moral Standing to Condemn Assad, by Sheldon Richman, 28 Aug 2013
    Questions the propriety of the U.S. government's moral pronouncements (and potential military actions) in response to allegations that Syria's government used chemical weapons
    [I]t is grotesque to see officials of the U.S. government ... condemning anyone's war tactics as something "morally obscene" ... Since 1945, the U.S. government has launched aggressive wars in violation of international law. It has tortured prisoners detained without charge. It has dropped atomic bombs on civilian centers, and used napalm, Agent Orange, depleted-uranium shells, and white phosphorus incendiary weapons. It has carpet bombed and firebombed cities. America's unexploded landmines and cluster bombs still threaten the people of Vietnam and Cambodia.
    Related Topics: Barack Obama, Syria
    The U.S. Isn't Leaving Afghanistan, by Sheldon Richman, 20 Nov 2013
    Reviews the terms of a 2013 draft agreement, due to go into effect in Jan 2015, between the U.S. and Afghan governments to maintain U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan "until the end of 2024 and beyond" [update: the troops finally withdrew in Aug 2021]
    This is a confession of failure. America's longest war is nowhere near its end ... The Afghan government, at U.S. insistence, would waive jurisdiction over U.S. military and civilian personnel who commit war crimes. The U.S. government would have sole jurisdiction ... What's clear ... is that the United States is not close to ending combat operations in Afghanistan, which began in October 2001. Thousands of Afghan noncombatants have died in the 12-year war, yet Afghanistan remains a dangerous place, and reports of U.S. progress are not merely gross exaggerations, but outright lies.
    Related Topic: Afghanistan
    Warfare-Welfare in Yugoslavia, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Freedom Daily, Jun 1999
    Criticizes U.S. involvement in the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) during the Kosovo War, viewing it as continuation of the American warfare-welfare empire that stretches back to U.S. entry in World War I
    One of the darkest consequences of both World War I and ... II has been the wholesale transformation of the United States into the warfare-welfare empire of the world, waging perpetual war for perpetual peace whenever the "national interest" has dictated it: Korea; Vietnam; Grenada; Panama; Somalia; Persian Gulf; and a host of covert military interventions ... The U.S. bombing of Serbia is the culmination ... Under the warfare-welfare state, our president now exercises the omnipotent power to send the entire nation into war without even the semblance of a congressional declaration of war.
    War Is Peace and Other Things the Government Wants You to Believe [PDF], by Sheldon Richman, 8 Jun 2008
    Transcript of speech given at The Future of Freedom Foundation's 2008 conference, “Restoring the Republic: Foreign Policy & Civil Liberties”, including audience questions
    [Paul Fussell] tells a story ... about the first Gulf War, where there was some video that the Pentagon had of helicopter gunships firing down on Iraqis ..., and shearing them in half, ... literally ... And somehow the existence of the video came to the attention of somebody in the media, and they asked the Pentagon spokesman, I think, "Why don't you release this video to the public?" ... I don't know if the [media] person had ever seen the video, but knew what it showed. And the Pentagon person said, "Gosh, if we were to release that video to the public, there'd never be another war."
    War Loses, Again, by Lew Rockwell, 8 Nov 2006
    Reflects on the results of the 2006 U.S. mid-term elections, both what voters thought about the Iraq War and lost opportunities by the Republicans in reducing economic interventions
    More than three years ago, George Bush unleashed the dogs of war on Iraq, perhaps hoping that he would take his place among the "great" war presidents. It's strange how these guys imagine themselves written about in history books in the manner of Washington, Lincoln, and FDR, rather than Truman, Johnson, and Nixon. It's been more than 50 years since war immortalized a president, and yet they keep trying. The dogs of war didn't build freedom and democracy in Iraq, or bring justice or peace ... This election has probably sealed Bush's place in history as a failed war president ...
    The War of 1812 Was the Health of the State, Part 1, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 27 Feb 2015
    Examines the sentiments of the United States founding fathers and other leading figures as well as some of the events that led to the War of 1812, and argues that "dangerous precedents were set" that led to imperialism and further wars
    [T]he war [of 1812] eroded liberalism in the United States by concentrating power and interest in the national government ... There's a lesson here: even a war that appears justifiable ... had enduring illiberal domestic consequences beyond the immediate transgressions of taxes, debt, and trade embargoes—dangerous precedents were set ... [T]he War of 1812 is an underrated turning point in American history, rivaling the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and the two world wars. Indeed, [it] helped to launch the empire that manifested itself in those later conflicts.
    The War of 1812 Was the Health of the State, Part 2, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 6 Mar 2015
    Discusses how James Madison's conduct of the War of 1812 led to changes in American attitudes, including mercantilism, militarism, imperialism and centralization
    [Democratic-]Republicans ... had previously warned of the dangers of war, including high taxes, debt, corruption, a big military, and centralized power. Madison ... famously said that war contained the "germ" of "all the enemies to public liberty." ... Wood notes that Americans hoped the war would deal a blow to the Indians in the Northwest, who had the support of Britain and whose land was much coveted. Indian removal (extermination) was a popular government program ... The lesson here is that even an apparently justifiable war can be counted on to produce illiberal consequences and precedents.
    War, Peace, and Murray Rothbard, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 18 Jul 2014
    Review and commentary on Murray Rothbard's 1963 essay "War, Peace, and the State"
    Murray's subject was war between nation-states—governments—but he believed that interstate warfare could not be understood without focusing first on individuals and the violent conflicts between them ... Murray noted, the first acts of aggression that occur in interstate warfare are against each government's respective "home" population ... Interstate war of course also involves aggression against foreign populations as well ... The disgusting term "collateral damage" was coined to whitewash the inevitable and foreseeable killing of innocents during war.
    Warring as Lying Throughout American History, by James Bovard, Freedom Daily, Feb 2008
    Recounts how U.S. Presidents and their administrations since James Polk have been deceitful about wars and military engagements
    Presidential deceits on foreign policy have filled cemeteries across the land ... Bush's deceits on the road to war with Iraq fit a long pattern of brazen charades ... Vietnam destroyed the credibility of both Lyndon Johnson and the American military. Yet the memory of the pervasive lies of the military establishment did not curb the gullibility of many people for fresh government-created falsehoods a decade or so later ... Lying and warring appear to be two sides of the same coin. Unfortunately, many Americans continue to be gullible when presidents claim a need to commence killing foreigners.
    War, the God That Failed, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., 15 May 2004
    Contrasts the general reaction to the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse vs. the mass deaths caused by the 2003 Iraq War, and the rationalizations made about the war with excuses made by early Bolsheviks
    Thanks to the prison pictures, a much-needed element has been introduced into the calculus of US foreign policy: humanitarianism. In wartime, the human element does tend to get lost ... War is idealism in the same way that Communism and Nazism were idealism: the fanatical dream of people who insisted that the world conform to their vicious imaginings, and just so happened to get hold of the power of the state and used it to make their "ideals" happen. They are the people who give us killing fields. War too is a god that has failed.
    Related Topics: Communism, Iraq War, Terrorism
    The War the Government Cannot Win, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., 1 May 2007
    Discusses how government cannnot win the war on terror because economic law is more powerful than the state; talk given at the Wisconsin Forum in Milwaukee
    [T]he right was very much against the wars of the 1990s ... A similar critique of left-wing wars was offered by the right in the interwar period. It was clear that World War I had diminished American liberty, regimented the economy, inflated the money, slaughtered many people, and failed to accomplish its goal of bringing about self-determination for all peoples of the world ... But these days, the political roles have changed. The left is the major voice criticizing the war on terror, while the right ... has enlisted in ways I could not have imagined back in the 1990s.
    We Must Not Be the World’s Policeman, by Sheldon Richman, 4 Sep 2013
    Considers whether United States government actions. such as bombing, against the goverment of Syria's Bashar al-Assad are justified from moral or constitutional perspectives
    Even if everything Secretary of State John Kerry says about chemical weapons in Syria were true, the evidence would prove only that Bashar al-Assad committed crimes against civilians. It would not prove that the U.S. government has either the moral or legal authority to commit acts of war ... At home, a perpetual war footing drains our pockets, puts us at risk of retaliation, violates our privacy, and distorts our economy through the military-industrial complex. James Madison understood well: "No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."
    We Need an Angel Like Clarence, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 28 Dec 2006
    Attempts to counter the despair felt by some in the freedom movement by examining, by example, the "unseen" benefits of libertarian activism over the past century
    Less than a century ago ... [w]orld war would end despotism, or so that generation believed ... An antiwar movement put a major dent in the war ... and kept us out of more wars for many years ... FDR was stymied in his attempts to further the state, which is why he turned to war. Wartime planning and price controls were beaten back against Truman's objections. The same was true with Vietnam and the draft. The war ended because public opinion turned against it ... Would Bush feel more or less secure in the continued conduct of his egregious war if the antiwar movement shut up and dried up?
    'What Kind of Democracy Is This?', by Justin Raimondo, 23 May 2007
    Examines questions about American democracy and militarism posed by professor (and retired Army colonel) Andrew J. Bacevich after the death of his son in combat in Iraq
    This new cultural ethos of empire sees war not as an orgy of brutality and destruction, but as a "spectacle," as Michael Ignatieff put it, a "spectator sport" like those indulged in by those late Roman citizens who relaxed while watching gladiators tear each other to pieces in the arena ... According to this Bizarro World morality, Ares must displace the Prince of Peace as the embodiment of virtue–and the neo-pagans see in the president, as the commander in chief, a godlike warlord who can order his armies into battle without so much as a nod to Congress, the people, or common sense.
    What People Believe, by Charley Reese, 20 May 2006
    Explains how people are influenced by their upbringing and by political leaders to leave their families and jobs and "go to a foreign country and fight in a war"
    Persuading people to go to war is much more complicated and involves identity, which is constructed of beliefs ... Millions of men have gone to war because, as Americans or British or French or Germans or Russians or Japanese, they believed it was their duty. The danger lies in the fact that unscrupulous men, through misrepresentation and propaganda, can motivate people to go to war even though it is not in their country's interest, much less their own ... It is an evil paradox that men with the lowest motives can launch wars by appealing to the highest ideals of better men.
    Related Topic: United States
    Whoa, Walter!, by Charley Reese, 4 Sep 2006
    Criticizes Walter Williams for his column "Will the West defend itself?" (23 Aug 2006), in which he defended going to the extreme of using nuclear weapons on "our Middle East enemies" just as "when we firebombed cities in Germany and Japan"
    The war party in power in Washington wants to go to war with Syria and Iran ... War is always the simplistic solution: Well, I don't know what else to do, so just bomb the bejeebers out of them. To justify it, the war party lies and seeks to get Americans to think like fascists and racists. Kill the foreigners. Wipe them out. But those people in those countries are human beings just like us. They marry, they have children, then grandchildren. They love, they work, they study, they dream. They don't deserve to be butchered because some dumb politicians have a quarrel with their politicians.
    Why Are We Afraid To Be Free?, by Butler Shaffer, 27 Nov 2001
    Examines the question of how to bring about freedom in individuals' lives, discussing how government influences people to be in conflicted states and how one must look within oneself and act accordingly to begin to be "free"
    As President Bush and [others] prattle on about how their self-proclaimed "permanent" war will produce "enduring freedom," we should remind ourselves of one of the most important of history's lessons: wars invariably restrict freedom, they do not enhance it! Wars increase the powers of the state ... The American Civil War greatly expanded the powers of the state, both in terms of how the war was conducted and the role played by the federal government thereafter ... World Wars I and II also extended state power and diminished individual liberties, as did the so-called "Cold War."
    Why I Am An Anarchist, by Caleb Johnson, The New Hampshire Free Press, 12 Mar 2008
    Contrasts the general public view of anarchism with the reality of national governments and their actions
    Every war that has ever been fought was created and nurtured by states. War, that great scourge of mankind, can only exist among states. When individuals disagree with each other, the argument may escalate to fisticuffs. Yet, when states squabble, the end result is too often war, with the millions of deaths and injuries, as well as the poverty and disease that war entails ... Would hundreds of thousands of young men, merely on their own initiative, have armed themselves to the teeth and journeyed to Iraq to torture, kill, and terrorize? No, to accomplish that great evil they needed a state ...
    Will the Democrats Become Part of the Problem?, by Paul Craig Roberts, 10 Nov 2006
    Discusses the outcome of the 2006 U.S. mid-term elections and offers recommendations primarily for congressional Democrats
    After the years of illegal war and the overnight destruction of civil liberties ..., the United States stands at a watershed ... This leaves the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both are lost. Both invasions were illegal. Those responsible must be held accountable. The American prosecutors of the Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg emphasized, as Robert Jackson put it, that Germany's crime was not in losing the war but in starting it. Under the Nuremberg standard, to launch a war of aggression is a war crime. It is punishable with a death sentence. As the wars are crimes, they must be stopped.
    Wilson in the Mirror, by John M. Peters, 23 May 2006
    Compares George W. Bush to Woodrow Wilson, drawing multiple parallels between the two
    In his April 2, 1917 speech to Congress urging a declaration of war on Germany, Wilson argued that "The world must be made safe for democracy." ... Bush would draw upon the same themes as Wilson in selling his war to a reluctant American public ... Bush would ignore decades of history in asserting that "Free nations don’t wage wars of aggression ... Free nations are peaceful nations." ... Wilson used the war as his excuse for severely curtailing domestic dissent and private liberties. ... Also common to the agendas of [both], is an unending commitment to warfare to achieve their stated goals.
    Winning the Battle for Freedom and Prosperity, by John Mackey, Liberty, Jun 2006
    Updated from speech given at FreedomFest 2004; after a brief background on himself, Mackey criticizes the freedom movement from a marketing and branding perspective and suggests a different approach by de-emphasizing some issues and prioritizing others
    Why should the Left own the peace ideal? ... Global peace is within our reach for the first time ... Let me quote from Johan Norberg's wonderful book, "In Defense of Global Capitalism":
    The number of wars has diminished by half during the last decade. Today, less than 1% of the world's population is directly affected by military conflicts. One reason is that democracies simply do not make war on each other. Another is that international exchange makes conflict less interesting ...
    Despite the war in Iraq, which looms large in our minds, the truth is that wars in the world are actually in decline.
    Without the State, No Troops to Support, by Jeremy Weiland, 6 Mar 2007
    Comments on the critics of the 2003 Iraq invasion who qualify their opposition by saying they still "support the troops"
    Despite this turning tide, politicians and pundits critical of the war continue to adhere to a curiously cautious ritual: qualifying their critique with assurances that they "support the troops" ... The drive towards war was only a slightly cruder invocation of the same double-talk and domination that governments have always foisted on people. "Support the troops" is a failsafe mechanism designed not to stop wars but to conserve the power to wage war another day. Oil, terrorism, and dictators are just peripheral issues ... The only thing worse than losing a war is losing the right to wage war.
    Related Topics: Militarism, The State
    Would a Return to Conscription Substantially Reduce the Probability of War?, by David R. Henderson, 7 Sep 2015
    Analyzes the question of whether reintroducing military conscription would incentivize the rich and powerful to object to "military adventurism" and thus prevent war; also includes a moral argument against the draft
    Even if influential people would be against the war because their children would be at risk, two factors would cause them to invest little in preventing war. First, any resources they put towards lobbying, writing letters, etc. would only marginally change the probability of war. Second, they would risk wasting their investment because of the likelihood that others would free ride ... A far better investment, from their viewpoint, would be to invest in a private good ... to arrange a special deal—either draft exemption or a safe job in the military—for their children.
    Related Topics: Ethics, Vietnam War
    Would You "Support the Troops" in Bolivia?, by Jacob G. Hornberger, 27 Dec 2006
    Discusses U.S. military contracts and the hypothetical case of a soldier objecting to being deployed for an invasion of Bolivia on orders from the President, contrasting it to the real scenario of the 2003 invasion of Iraq
    [S]ay that President Bush orders U.S. troops to invade and occupy Bolivia ... Suppose a soldier says, "Mr. President, I can't carry out this order because it would involve killing innocent people wrongfully ..." ... What about conscientious-objector status? Wouldn't that relieve the soldier from participating ...? No, because under military rules [that] status applies only if a soldier objects on moral or religious grounds to all war. A soldier is not permitted to gain conscientious-objector status if he happens to object to a particular war as being illegal, unjust, or immoral.


    Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement, by David Gordon, The Mises Review, Dec 2007
    Critical and (self-admittedly) "unfair review" of Brian Doherty's Radicals for Capitalism (2007)
    [Doherty] says:
    These days, war revisionism is ignored by most mainstream libertarian institutions. Arguing against the Leviathan state seems far enough beyond the pale to trouble yourself further by linking with such lost causes as arguing that America should not have entered World War II ... Nowadays, only some writers associated with the Ludwig von Mises Institute and the libertarian-run website are apt to link libertarianism and revisionism. (p. 63)
    From my own Rothbardian perspective, opposition to war is central to libertarianism, not a sideshow ...
    Wartime Attacks on Civil Liberties, by George Leef, Freedom Daily, Dec 2005
    Review of Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime: From the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism (2004) by University of Chicago Law School professor Geoffrey R. Stone
    If it is true ... that war is the health of the state, it is equally true ... that war is the sickness of individual liberty. The state always menaces its people with an array of orders, prohibitions, and confiscations, but never so much as in times of war, when it can count on widespread support for all measures said to be necessary to ensure victory. That is especially so when it comes to dissent ... Opposition to or even indifference toward the war is equated with disloyalty, and the deeply ingrained notion that the people have an overarching obligation of loyalty to the state rises ...


    The Antiwar Republican, by Ron Paul, Scott Horton, 4 Apr 2007
    Transcript and MP3 audio recording; topics include foreign policy principles, isolationism, the Bush Doctrine, the "war on terror", the British sailors captured by Iran, presidential authority over state National Guard units and Guantanamo Bay detainees
    Horton: Okay, I'd like to get your criticism of the Bush Doctrine ...
    Paul: ... Even before World War I–for over 100 years–we've been doing way too much ... But today it is ... a blatant, open, and declared policy: "Well, if we think it is in our best interests, and we don't like them, then we should go and start the war." That's what preemption is all about. We have never been so bold as to say that we should start wars. At least we pretended we weren't involved in starting wars. So I think that is the most significant and most dangerous change in our foreign policy.
    Charles Johnson on his Many Publications, Libertarian Feminism and Anarchic Individualism, by Charles Johnson, Anthony Wile, The Daily Bell, 29 Apr 2012
    Topics include the Markets Not Capitalism anthology, some of Johnson's essays, his family, the Alliance of the Libertarian Left, war, constitutions, feminism, unions, the United States, Murray Rothbard, Austrian economics and the future
    Daily Bell: ... Where do you stand on US wars and why?
    Charles Johnson: I am opposed to war–whether by the U.S. or by any other government ... [T]he ... most violent States on earth are those that have gone to war. I protested the war on Afghanistan in 2001 and got involved ... when Bush started publicly ramping up for the War on Iraq. I think that these wars–as well as Obama's wars on Pakistan, Libya, et al.–are just like all the other wars that the U.S. Government has engaged in–brutal acts of mass murder, perpetuated by a senseless and unjust demand for global political control.
    Chris Hedges on Reporting on War—And Paying For It, by Lew Rockwell, Bill Moyers, NOW with Bill Moyers, 7 Mar 2003
    Conducted two weeks before the invasion of Iraq; topics include: the economy, the budget deficit and national debt, inflation, Republican vs. Democrat presidents, tax cuts, war spending, World War II and the depression, Sadam Hussein and unemployment
    MOYERS: What do you think this war will do to the economy?
    ROCKWELL: Well, it's very bad ... It's a vast transfer of wealth from the productive economy into ... a socialist enterprise, the U.S. military ... So you have ... money taken out of productive private savings and investment to build bombs and missiles ... And ... like every single war in our history it empowers the government to suppress dissent, to abolish civil liberties, to grow. That's one of the reasons governments love a war. Because it does enable them to grow and to brand anybody who disagrees with them as unpatriotic.
    Do You Consider Yourself a Libertarian?, by Lew Rockwell, Kenny Johnsson, 25 May 2007
    Interview by Kenny Johnsson for the short-lived "The Liberal Post" blog; topics discussed include libertarianism, statism, war, elections, taxes, anarchism and the U.S. Constitution
    Rockwell: We can support any defense of person and property. But war as we understand the term in modern times is a government program like any other, meaning that it over-utilizes resources, causes destruction of property and life, and fails to achieve its stated aims ... [W]ar often leads to the opposite of its stated aims. Iraq is a good example ... Western history had this idea of "just war" that was supposed to prevent war from starting and prevent them from becoming total. But who is left to decide ...? The finally authority here is the state. Of course it sees itself as just.
    Graydon Carter Shows How Bush Makes Lies Seem True, and Just What We've Lost on Bush's Watch, by Graydon Carter, BuzzFlash, 29 Sep 2004
    Topics include: Vanity Fair's critiques of the Bush administration, WMDs, What We've Lost, the environment, federal judges appointed by Bush, liberal bias in the mainstream press, 2004 election polls and Internet journalism
    Graydon Carter: There's probably nothing more serious that you can do as a leader than to take your country into war. And to take your country into war on a bone pile of false assumptions, without any clear sort of strategy for maintaining the country after you've taken it over, or managing it toward a democratic state, is irresponsible. The administration used the war as a diversion so that the domestic agenda received very little attention during the half-year building up to the war, and the year since. The thing now is Americans basically have almost moved on from the war in Iraq.
    Related Topics: George W. Bush, Iraq War
    Interview with Karl Hess, by Karl Hess, A. Lin Neumann, Reason, May 1982
    Topics discussed include the Republican Party, National Review, AEI, Goldwater, Rothbard, anarchism, the Vietnam War, Carter and Reagan, fascism, urban enterprise zones, the environment, and authoritarianism vs. freedom
    HESS: ... The hardest thing was to come to grips with Vietnam. I'd been involved in a lot of work regarding it. I'd done congressional briefings on some special bombing operations, done a lot of work on it. I really felt it was quite a good thing ... But then the Pentagon Papers, or the precursors to the Pentagon Papers, showed there was no evidence of an invasion. It was just shocking to me ... Well, to be involved in any way with a war, even just emotionally, is powerful. It is very hard to break away from it. War, being lunatic in nature, attracts in a lunatic way. It is very powerful.
    Introducing Revisionism, by James J. Martin, Steven Springer, Michael Hardesty, Peter Kuetzing, John McCarthy, Reason, Jan 1976
    Topics discussed include: World War II vs. Vietnam War revisionism, genocide, the definition of "aggression" between nations, the Cold War, Lysander Spooner vs. Benjamin Tucker on natural rights, the Columbus complex and individualist anarchism
    MARTIN: [The main conclusions of World War II revisionism are] much like those of the previous war and every other war ... There's a tendency to disparage the notion of unique evil responsibility ... Invariably in cases of a conflict such as a war, the winners obviously write the first account. It sometimes takes a long while before the orthodoxy which the outcome of a war establishes can be broken down either by new facts appearing on the record or the tendency of subsequent generations to look at things from a different point of view and think about things in a different way.
    Libertarian Profile: Richard Maybury, by Richard Maybury, Jim Elwood, Freedom Network News, 2003
    Topics discussed include: how Maybury became a libertarian, his "Uncle Eric" books and homeschooling, the "packaging" needed to sell liberty and his Early Warning Report investment newsletter
    Maybury: ... The Thousand Year War was published in 1999, it predicted and explained the present war ... [M]y 1981 report ... concluded that the US government was blundering into a medieval religious war between the Islamic world and the Christian world ... If a person reads [my] war books ..., he or she comes away with a view of US foreign policy that is, shall I say, a bit different than what we were taught in school and in the movies. I don't think many young people who read them will be rushing down to their Army recruiter to volunteer to die in the government's new religious crusades.
    Pentagon Whistle-Blower on the Coming War With Iran, by Karen Kwiatkowski, James Harris, Josh Scheer, 27 Feb 2007
    Topics include possible conflict with Iran, the Pentagon situation prior to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Office of Special Plans, Vietnam, terrorism and neoconservatism; includes audio and transcript
    KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: ... And what has happened ... is the war that they want was Iraq. And the war that they want is Iran, and the war that they want is Syria, okay? That's the war they want. They don't want Vietnam ... So we have war. And they make up stories and we're seeing the exact same thing in terms of Iran, which is quite alarming because it seems as if we can't stop this ...
    The military has been broken in most respects ... that it worked ... because it's a mercenary force. We were so contracted out, we hired people that are beyond the law, that are not accountable to rules of war.
    September 11 and the Anti-Capitalistic Mentality: An Interview with Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., for, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., Myles Kantor, FrontPage Magazine, 12 Mar 2002
    Discusses the insights of Mises' The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality particularly with regard to the attacks on the World Trade Center on 11 Sep 2001
    Rockwell: ... In Europe, and to some extent in the U.S., war was [the socialists'] preferred method of getting rid of the market economy. They saw that war puts the government in charge of economic life. They knew that if they ever stood a chance to impose central planning, it was to be through war socialism. This is why the socialists and the left generally were such strong advocates of entry into World War I, and why FDR so badly wanted to enter World War II. Hitler too believed that war was the best way to bring about national socialism ... Dictators love war war.

    Cartoons and Comic Strips

    The Clarity of our War Strategy ..., by Tom Toles, The Washington Post, 23 Jul 2006
    Long War, Inc., by Mark Fiore, 1 Mar 2006


    Defend America First: The Antiwar Editorials of the Saturday Evening Post, 1939-1942
        by Garet Garrett, Bruce Ramsey (introduction), 2003
    Editorials from Aug 1939-Jan 1942; contents: Introduction - Invitation - The Call - Sacrifices - The State - Consent - Meaning - Reminder - Last Stand - Global Dream - Country - Comrades - Confidence - Maneuvers - Eleventh Hour - Unity - Afterword
    The Failure of America's Foreign Wars
        by Richard Ebeling (editor), Jacob G. Hornberger (editor), The Future of Freedom Foundation, 1996
    Collection of essays by Ebeling, Hornberger, Doug Bandow, Robert Higgs, Simon Jenkins, James Madison, Ralph Raico, Sheldon Richman, Wesley Allen Riddle, Joseph Sobran, Herbert Spencer, William Graham Sumner and Daniel Webster
    Give War a Chance: Eyewitness Accounts of Mankind's Struggle Against Tyranny, Injustice, and Alcohol-Free Beer
        by P. J. O'Rourke, 1992
    Contents: The Birth, and Some of the Afterbirth, of Freedom - Second Thoughts - A Call for a New McCarthyism - Give War a Chance: Dispatches from the Gulf War
    Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War, by Ludwig von Mises, 1944
    Partial contents: German Liberalism - The Triumph of Militarism - Etatism - Etatism and Nationalism - Refutation of Some Fallacious Explanations - The Peculiar Characteristics of German Nationalism - The Social Democrats in Imperial Germany
    Related Topic: Germany
    On The Law Of War And Peace, by Hugo Grotius, 1625
    Partial contents: On War and Right - Inquiry Into the Lawfulness of War - Defense of Person and Property - On the Unjust Causes of War - The Causes of Undertaking War for Others - What is Lawful in War - Respecting Those Who are Neutral in War


    War and the Growth of Government, by Robert Higgs, Mises University, 20 Jul 2015
    Includes a six minute introduction where Lew Rockwell presents the 2015 Murray N. Rothbard Medal of Freedom to Higgs; discusses, with many examples, how wars and militarism influenced the growth of government


    Follow the Money (A Rap Attack on Petrodollar Wars and The FED), by Dave Berzack, 17 Dec 2013
    Questions the rationales given for the Iraq and Libyan invasions and argues that the Federal Reserve and petrodollar agreements are the real reasons
    Related Topic: Federal Reserve System
    HOWARD ZINN: "Holy Wars", by Howard Zinn, Democracy Now!, 11 Nov 2009
    Talk given at Boston University, discussing the American "Holy Wars": the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and World War II
    How Major U.S. Neo-imperialist Wars End, by Robert Higgs, 6 Jun 2008
    Speech given at the Future of Freedom Foundation's 2008 conference "Restoring the Republic: Foreign Policy and Civil Liberties"

    War as Government Program, by Sheldon Richman, 3 Jun 2007
    Speech the Future of Freedom Foundation's conference "Restoring the Republic: Foreign Policy and Civil Liberties"
    War Sucks, What is it Good For?, by Peter Jaworski, 10 Dec 2015
    Discusses the tendency to think of wars in the abstract, rather than the "death and destruction" they cause, the unintended consequences of war and constrasts the effects of war to the benefits of trade (with Edwin Starr's version of "War" in background)
    War, what is it good for? Creating peace, spreading democracy, boosting the economy? Here's the answer, nothing. Say it again y'all. ... Wars are traumatic, chaotic events. All they leave is death and destruction in their wake. And they make the citizens of the country going to war ... nervous and ... fearful. ... Now more important, even just wars have unintended consequences. And they may create worse problems than the ones you set out to fix. And the consequences of wars that are difficult, if not impossible, to foresee. Wars may seem noble because of the dangers and the drama involved.


    The Health of the State, by Ralph Raico, Lew Rockwell, The Lew Rockwell Show, 17 Aug 2008
    Lew talks with Raico about war, U.S. foreign policy, the role of Commander in Chief and related topics

    The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "War" as of 25 Jul 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.