Liberty and Militarism are Irreconcilable

There exists today a current of popular thought that embraces both liberty and militarism. On the one hand, adherents claim to support the Constitution, limited government, and the principles of America’s founding fathers. On the other hand they hold that the United States government must be the policeman of the world, bomb poor people in far off lands, and have the right to spy on American citizens.

These two positions cannot be logically held at the same time. Either you are for liberty or you are for militarism. You can’t be for both.

First of all, where does the money for all of this militarism come from? It can only come from one place: the citizens. Excessive military spending necessarily implies excessive taxation. If the politicians don’t have the guts to raise taxes, they’ll issue debt. This is the same as taxing future generations. After all, the debt will have to be paid back some time.

What if a large segment of the population is against militarism? May they be exempted from having to take part? In other words, if a person doesn’t perceive any real threats, and finds militarism to be immoral, can they choose not to pay for activities that they don’t agree with? Will the militarists agree to make militarism voluntary?

If not, then in no way can a militarist say that they are for liberty. For they would use coercive measures to force compliance. This is the antithesis of liberty. Liberty means that each person has an absolute right to their own person and property. Involuntary taxation flies in the face of true liberty.

If, however, the militarist does agree that militarism should be voluntary, they need only to write a check in a large amount to the United States treasury to  support their beloved military expenditures. They should stop donating money to politicians who promise militarism. For politicians have only one source of funding, taxation.

However, even if militarists were to provide full financial support for their desired military adventures, their position would still be untenable with regards to liberty.

Liberty is not specifically an American right. It is a universal human right. In reality, it should be the only universal human right. Carrying out military activities in foreign countries grievously impairs the liberty of foreign citizens.

It is easy enough to understand that killing innocent civilians with drone missiles is a gross violation of liberty. However, there are deeper and subtler infringements that should be pointed out.

The United States has more that 900 military bases around the world. All of those bases have been constructed on plots of land. At some point in the past, the land belonged to real, live people. When the United States government purchased, or appropriated the land from the local government, those people had to be cleared off of the property. Perhaps the people were compensated. Perhaps they weren’t. Even if they were compensated, their liberty was violated because they weren’t given a choice.

This leads us to the next important way in which American militarism violates the principals of liberty. The United States government supports a shameful collection of foreign dictators. In exchange for docking aircraft carriers and constructing airstrips, the U.S. government gives billions of dollars of aid to some of the most evil tyrants in the world.

Our heart can only go out to the victims of those who live under extreme oppression. It goes without saying that every dollar given to a despotic regime is in stark contradiction to the principals of liberty.

There is one other, often overlooked, point that I’d like to make. If the country was truly in danger, it would be unnecessary to force people to defend it. In a time of danger, I’d happily pay large sums to a police officer to offer me protection. When a bad man is lurking outside my house, threatening me and my family, I’m the most ardent militarist that you’ve ever met. I don’t need to be convinced to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on protection.

The question becomes then, am I too stupid to decide for myself when I’m threatened? Are most people? Must politicians and militarists make all decisions about safety on our behalf?

But if most people are too dumb to decide for themselves whether they are or are not threatened, what makes them smart enough to vote? to drive? to procreate? to educate their kids? to have any liberty at all?

Here we arrive at a terrible contradiction. If citizens are unable to make their own decisions about protection, a fundamental human necessity, they certainly can’t decide how to educate themselves, feed themselves, clothe themselves, entertain themselves, interact with each other, or do anything else.

Once liberty is denied in one arena, there is no logical justification for maintaining it in any other arena. This quickly devolves into a scenario in which partisans are jockeying to impose their vision of the world onto the rest of the citizenry. Indeed, this is just the situation that we find ourselves in.

One segment of the country wants welfare, big government, socialized medicine, and humanitarian military intervention. Another segment wants big government too, but they want it in the form of militarism, power politics, subsidies to the military industrial complex, and spying on American citizens.

Who is right? I say neither, but who am I? The point is that no matter which way it goes, the decisions will be based on the arbitrary opinions of a group of imperfect human beings. These arbitrary valuations will then be forced on everybody else.

Enter liberty. Liberty clears away the field. Each person must decide for themselves how to live their lives. When real threats appear, citizens will freely spend their money on protection.

In the meantime liberty promotes a peaceful and cooperative world. Instead of taking money from citizens through taxation and giving it to foreign dictators, citizens should rightly spend their own money. The best way to overthrow a dictator is to do business with his subjects. The richer the oppressed become, the more resources they’ll have at their disposal and the more formidable they’ll be.

In the end, the militarists must make a decision. Either they are for liberty or they are for big government. There is no middle ground.

Advertisements

4 Responses to Liberty and Militarism are Irreconcilable

  1. Guardian says:

    I don’t think they are irreconsilable at all.

    I consider myself a Militarist and a lover of Liberty.

    I’m not a militarist in that I think we should solve all our diplomatic problems Militarily, but in the sense that I believe we should maintain Military power and use it when necessary.

    I also believe in moderation however.

    But when you talk of militarism and liberty, waht about conscription?

    We dont have that anymore, is that not a liberty?

    How much have you worked to support the warfront?

    And about the military basis, whats a military bases amount of land compared to a whole nation?

    A lot of the places we have military bases we could of simply took over, conquered the land, so what we have a military base big whoop…

    I do disagree with what I often see as irresponsible use of the military, and perhaps some of the cost could be deducted.

    Our nation is certaintly at a crossroads but it isn’t because of militarism.

    We’ll see soon enough what path our nation will take.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: