The recent opening of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity was a watershed moment in American history. There has never been anything quite like it. Ideologically diverse, the Ron Paul Institute reaches out to all Americans, and indeed to people all over the world, who find the spectrum of foreign-policy opinion in the United States to be unreasonably narrow. Until Ron Paul and his new institute, there was no resolutely anti-interventionist foreign-policy organization to be found.
Neoconservatives have not responded warmly to the announcement of Ron’s new institute. Whatever their particular gripes, we can be absolutely certain of the real reason for their unhappiness: they have never faced systematic, organized opposition before.
The Democrats would see Lincoln pried out of his temple before supporting nonintervention abroad, so they pose no fundamental problem for the neocons. Ron Paul, on the other hand, is real opposition, and he can mobilize an army. The neocons know it. What’s Tim Pawlenty up to these days? Where are his legions of well-read young fans who seek to carry on his philosophy? You see the point.
For the first time, strict nonintervention will have a permanent voice in American life. It is another nail in the neocon coffin. The neocons know they are losing the young. Bright kids who believe in freedom aren’t rallying to Mitt Romney or David Horowitz, and, like anyone with a critical mind and a moral compass, they are not going along with the regime’s war propaganda.
At this historic moment, I thought it might be appropriate to set down some thoughts on war – a manifesto for peace, as it were.
(1) Our rulers are not a law unto themselves.
Our warmakers believe they are exempt from normal moral rules. Because they are at war, they get to suspend all decency, all the norms that govern the conduct and interaction of human beings in all other circumstances. The anodyne term “collateral damage,” along with perfunctory and meaningless words of regret, are employed when innocent civilians, including children, are maimed and butchered. A private individual behaving this way would be called a sociopath. Give him a fancy title and a nice suit, and he becomes a statesman.
Let us pursue the subversive mission of applying the same moral rules against theft, kidnapping, and murder to our rulers that we apply to everyone else.
(2) Humanize the demonized.
We must encourage all efforts to humanize the populations of countries in the crosshairs of the warmakers. The general public is whipped into a war frenzy without knowing the first thing – or hearing only propaganda – about the people who will die in that war. The establishment’s media won’t tell their story, so it is up to us to use all the resources we as individuals have, especially online, to communicate the most subversive truth of all: that the people on the other side are human beings, too. This will make it marginally more difficult for the warmakers to carry out their Two Minutes’ Hate, and can have the effect of persuading Americans with normal human sympathies to distrust the propaganda that surrounds them.
(3) If we oppose aggression, let us oppose all aggression.
If we believe in the cause of peace, putting a halt to aggressive violence between nations is not enough. We should not want to bring about peace overseas in order that our rulers may turn their guns on peaceful individuals at home. Away with all forms of aggression against peaceful people.
(4) Never use “we” when speaking of the government.
The people and the warmakers are two distinct groups. We must never say “we” when discussing the US government’s foreign policy. For one thing, the warmakers do not care about the opinions of the majority of Americans. It is silly and embarrassing for Americans to speak of “we” when discussing their government’s foreign policy, as if their input were necessary to or desired by those who make war.
But it is also wrong, not to mention mischievous. When people identify themselves so closely with their government, they perceive attacks on their government’s foreign policy as attacks on themselves. It then becomes all the more difficult to reason with them – why, you’re insulting my foreign policy!
Likewise, the use of “we” feeds into war fever. “We” have to get “them.” People root for their governments as they would for a football team. And since we know ourselves to be decent and good, “they” can only be monstrous and evil, and deserving of whatever righteous justice “we” dispense to them.
The antiwar left falls into this error just as often. They appeal to Americans with a catalogue of horrific crimes “we” have committed. But we haven’t committed those crimes. The same sociopaths who victimize Americans themselves every day, and over whom we have no real control, committed those crimes.
(5) War is not “good for the economy.”
A commitment to peace is a wonderful thing and worthy of praise, but it needs to be coupled with an understanding of economics. A well-known US senator recently deplored cuts in military spending because “when you cut military spending you lose jobs.” There is no economic silver lining to war or to preparation for war.
Those who would tell us that war brings prosperity are grossly mistaken, even in the celebrated case of World War II. The particular stimulus that war gives to certain sectors of the economy comes at the expense of civilian needs, and directs resources away from the improvement of the common man’s standard of living.
Ludwig von Mises, the great free-market economist, wrote that “war prosperity is like the prosperity that an earthquake or a plague brings. The earthquake means good business for construction workers, and cholera improves the business of physicians, pharmacists, and undertakers; but no one has for that reason yet sought to celebrate earthquakes and cholera as stimulators of the productive forces in the general interest.”
Elsewhere, Mises described the essence of so-called war prosperity: it “enriches some by what it takes from others. It is not rising wealth but a shifting of wealth and income.”
(6) Support the free market? Then oppose war.
Ron Paul has restored the proper association of capitalism with peace and nonintervention. Leninists and other leftists, burdened by a false understanding of economics and the market system, used to claim that capitalism needed war, that alleged “overproduction” of goods forced market societies to go abroad – and often to war – in search for external markets for their excess goods.
This was always economic nonsense. It was political nonsense, too: the free market needs no parasitical institution to grease the skids for international commerce, and the same philosophy that urges nonaggression among individual human beings compels nonaggression between geographical areas.
Mises always insisted, contra the Leninists, that war and capitalism could not long coexist. “Of course, in the long run war and the preservation of the market economy are incompatible. Capitalism is essentially a scheme for peaceful nations…. The emergence of the international division of labor requires the total abolition of war…. The market economy involves peaceful cooperation. It bursts asunder when the citizens turn into warriors and, instead of exchanging commodities and services, fight one another.”
“The market economy,” Mises said simply, “means peaceful cooperation and peaceful exchange of goods and services. It cannot persist when wholesale killing is the order of the day.”
Those who believe in the free and unhampered market economy should be especially skeptical of war and military action. War, after all, is the ultimate government program. War has it all: propaganda, censorship, spying, crony contracts, money printing, skyrocketing spending, debt creation, central planning, hubris – everything we associate with the worst interventions into the economy.
“War,” Mises observed, “is harmful, not only to the conquered but to the conqueror. Society has arisen out of the works of peace; the essence of society is peacemaking. Peace and not war is the father of all things. Only economic action has created the wealth around us; labor, not the profession of arms, brings happiness. Peace builds; war destroys.”
See through the propaganda. Stop empowering and enriching the state by cheering its wars. Set aside the television talking points. Look at the world anew, without the prejudices of the past, and without favoring your own government’s version of things.
Be decent. Be human. Do not be deceived by the Joe Bidens, the John McCains, the Barack Obamas and Hillary Clintons. Reject the biggest government program of them all.
Peace builds. War destroys.
May 1, 2013
Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. [send him mail], former editorial assistant to Ludwig von Mises and congressional chief of staff to Ron Paul, is founder and CEO of the Mises Institute, executor for the estate of Murray N. Rothbard, and editor of LewRockwell.com. See his books.
Copyright © 2013 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
Nigel Farage speaks to François Hollande (Feb 2013)
As 2012 draws to a close, it’s hard not to be reminded that 2013 will begin with Ron Paul retired from Congress. For all those years he was a fearless truth-teller, who exposed and denounced the horrors, domestic or foreign, of the regime. His farewell address – something practically unheard of for a congressman in the first place – will continue to be read years from now, as future Americans look back with astonishment that such a man actually served in the US Congress.
For most of his career, those speeches were delivered to a largely empty chamber and to audiences of modest size around the country. A man of Ron’s intelligence could have grown in stature and influence in no time at all had he been willing to play the game. He wasn’t. And he was perfectly at peace with the result: although he wasn’t a major political celebrity, he had done his moral duty.
Little did he know that those thankless years of pointing out the State’s lies and refusing to be absorbed into the Blob would in fact make him a hero one day. To see Ron speaking to many thousands of cheering kids, when all the while respectable opinion had been warning them to stay far away from this dangerous man, is more gratifying and encouraging than I can say. I was especially thrilled when a tempestuous Ron, responding to the Establishment’s description of his campaign as “dangerous,” said, you’re darn right – I am dangerous, to them.
Some people used to tell Ron that if only he’d stop talking about foreign policy he might win more supporters. He knew it was all nonsense. Foreign policy was the issue that made Ron into a phenomenon. There would have been no Ron Paul movement in the first place had Ron not distinguished himself from the pack by refusing to accept the cartoonish narrative, peddled not only by Rudy Giuliani but also by the luminaries of both major political parties, accounting for the origins of 9/11.
How many bills did he pass, right-wing scoffers demand to know. A successful Republican politician, in between his usual activity of expanding government power, is supposed to have rearranged the deck chairs on the Titanic five or six times, by means of bills with his name on them. At best, the bills these politicos boast about amounted to marginal changes of momentary significance, if even that. More commonly, even the bills they trumpeted turned out to be ambiguous or actually negative from a libertarian standpoint.
What is Ron’s legacy? Not some phony bill, of zero significance in the general avalanche of statism. For his legacy, look around you.
The Federal Reserve, an issue not discussed in American politics in a hundred years, is under greater scrutiny now than ever before. Austrian economics is enjoying a rebirth that dwarfs the attention it received when F.A. Hayek won the Nobel Prize in 1974 – and when you ask people how they heard about the Austrian School, the universal answer is Ron Paul. One man brought about this intellectual revolution. How’s that for a legacy?
And that’s not to mention how many people Ron introduced to libertarian thought in general, or how many hawks reconsidered their position on war because of Ron’s arguments and example.
Even the mainstream media has to acknowledge the existence of a whole new category of thinker: one that is antiwar, anti-Fed, anti-police state, and pro-market. The libertarian view is even on the map of those who despise it. That, too, is Ron’s doing.
Young people are reading major treatises in economics and philosophy because Ron Paul recommended them. Who else in public life can come close to saying that?
How many bills did he get passed? Talk about missing the point.
Where are the hordes of students dying to learn from Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, or Mitt Romney?
Remember, too, that in politics there’s always some excuse for why the message of liberty can’t be delivered. I have to satisfy the party leadership. I have to keep the media off my back. The moment is inopportune. My constituents aren’t ready to hear it – so instead of explaining myself and persuading them, I’ll just keep my mouth shut, or minimize my position to the point where I sound like any old politician, except ten percent better.
And all the while, would-be donors are assured that this is all a facade, that the politician is really one of us and not what he appears to be. For the time being, you understand, he has to contradict his core beliefs in order to ingratiate himself into the favor of those whose support he will one day need.
Once elected, he still cannot really say what he thinks. Don’t you want him to get re-elected?
Ron never acted this way. At times he would explain the libertarian position in ways likely to resonate with a particular audience, but he never compromised or backed away.
It’s been said that if you ask Ron Paul a question, he gives you a straight answer. That’s an understatement. All through his presidential campaigns he sent the guardians of opinion into hysterics. Why, he can’t say that! That wasn’t even one of the choices! To the gatekeepers’ astonishment, his numbers kept on growing.
No politician is going to trick the public into embracing liberty, even if liberty were his true goal and not just a word he uses in fundraising letters. For liberty to advance, a critical mass of the public has to understand and support it. That doesn’t have to mean a majority, or even anywhere near it. But some baseline of support has to exist.
That is why Ron Paul’s work is so important and so lasting.
Ten years from now, no one will remember the men who opposed Ron in the GOP primaries. Half of them are forgotten already. But fifty years from now (and longer), young kids will still be learning from Ron: reading his books, following his recommendations for further study, and taking inspiration from his courage and principle.
With Ron’s Congressional career drawing to a close, we should remember that we have witnessed something highly unusual, and exceedingly unlikely to be repeated. And we should also remember Ron’s parting advice: the real revolution is not in Washington, DC. It’s in the world of ideas.
That’s what Ron is devoting the rest of his life to, and it’s one more thing he has to teach us. So watch for news of his institutionalized work for peace, his homeschooling curriculum, his homepage, and his TV network. Far from retiring, Ron Paul is stepping up his work for liberty. And in this work, there is a place for all of us.
December 21, 2012
Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. [send him mail], former editorial assistant to Ludwig von Mises and congressional chief of staff to Ron Paul, is founder and chairman of the Mises Institute, executor for the estate of Murray N. Rothbard, and editor of LewRockwell.com. See his books.
Copyright © 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
By Jason Ditz
Odierno Touts Plan for Fast Deployments Anywhere in the World
The creation of the US African Command (Africom) of course pointed to US involvements in wars on the continent, and indeed the US has since fought a war in Libya, deployed troops of Uganda, and is planning for another war in Mali.
But what they don’t have compared to, say, CENTCOM, is an established collection of nations with US troops stations waiting for wars to break out. That will soon change, as the Army is planning to send troops to “as many as 35 African nations early next year.”
The numbers will be small, at least at first, but done with an eye on Gen. Raymond Odierno’s “Regionally Aligned Forces” plan, giving the US the ability to quickly deploy troops anywhere on the planet.
The comparative lack of things for the US military to do in Africa has long kept the US out of Africa. Since the establishment of Africom, officials seem to figure that with enough troops and enough countries involved, the question of what wars and where can be worked out at their leisure.
Editor’s Note: Never forget the Christmas Truce of World War I, when troops refused to be pawns of empire for one blessed day. May American soldiers declare a grassroots truce every Christmas, and may it be Christmas all year round.
The Christmas Truce, which occurred primarily between the British and German soldiers along the Western Front in December 1914, is an event the official histories of the “Great War” leave out, and the Orwellian historians hide from the public. Stanley Weintraub has broken through this barrier of silence and written a moving account of this significant event by compiling letters sent home from the front, as well as diaries of the soldiers involved. His book is entitled Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce. The book contains many pictures of the actual events showing the opposing forces mixing and celebrating together that first Christmas of the war. This remarkable story begins to unfold, according to Weintraub, on the morning of December 19, 1914:
“Lieutenant Geoffrey Heinekey, new to the 2nd Queen’s Westminister Rifles, wrote to his mother, ‘A most extraordinary thing happened. . . . Some Germans came out and held up their hands and began to take in some of their wounded and so we ourselves immediately got out of our trenches and began bringing in our wounded also. The Germans then beckoned to us and a lot of us went over and talked to them and they helped us to bury our dead. This lasted the whole morning and I talked to several of them and I must say they seemed extraordinarily fine men. . . . It seemed too ironical for words. There, the night before we had been having a terrific battle and the morning after, there we were smoking their cigarettes and they smoking ours.” (p. 5)
Weintraub reports that the French and Belgians reacted differently to the war and with more emotion than the British in the beginning. The war was occurring on their land and “The French had lived in an atmosphere of revanche since 1870, when Alsace and Lorraine were seized by the Prussians” in a war declared by the French (p. 4). The British and German soldiers, however, saw little meaning in the war as to them, and, after all, the British King and the German Kaiser were both grandsons of Queen Victoria. Why should the Germans and British be at war, or hating each other, because a royal couple from Austria were killed by an assassin while they were visiting in Serbia? However, since August when the war started, hundreds of thousands of soldiers had been killed, wounded or missing by December 1914 (p. xvi).
It is estimated that over eighty thousand young Germans had gone to England before the war to be employed in such jobs as waiters, cooks, and cab drivers and many spoke English very well. It appears that the Germans were the instigators of this move towards a truce. So much interchange had occurred across the lines by the time that Christmas Eve approached that Brigadier General G.T. Forrestier-Walker issued a directive forbidding fraternization:
“For it discourages initiative in commanders, and destroys offensive spirit in all ranks. . . . Friendly intercourse with the enemy, unofficial armistices and exchange of tobacco and other comforts, however tempting and occasionally amusing they may be, are absolutely prohibited.” (p. 6–7)
Later strict orders were issued that any fraternization would result in a court-martial. Most of the seasoned German soldiers had been sent to the Russian front while the youthful and somewhat untrained Germans, who were recruited first, or quickly volunteered, were sent to the Western Front at the beginning of the war. Likewise, in England young men rushed to join in the war for the personal glory they thought they might achieve and many were afraid the war might end before they could get to the front. They had no idea this war would become one of attrition and conscription or that it would set the trend for the whole 20th century, the bloodiest in history which became known as the War and Welfare Century.
As night fell on Christmas Eve the British soldiers noticed the Germans putting up small Christmas trees along with candles at the top of their trenches and many began to shout in English “We no shoot if you no shoot”(p. 25). The firing stopped along the many miles of the trenches and the British began to notice that the Germans were coming out of the trenches toward the British who responded by coming out to meet them. They mixed and mingled in No Man’s Land and soon began to exchange chocolates for cigars and various newspaper accounts of the war which contained the propaganda from their respective homelands. Many of the officers on each side attempted to prevent the event from occurring but the soldiers ignored the risk of a court-martial or of being shot.
Some of the meetings reported in diaries were between Anglo-Saxons and German Saxons and the Germans joked that they should join together and fight the Prussians. The massive amount of fraternization, or maybe just the Christmas spirit, deterred the officers from taking action and many of them began to go out into No Man’s Land and exchange Christmas greetings with their opposing officers. Each side helped bury their dead and remove the wounded so that by Christmas morning there was a large open area about as wide as the size of two football fields separating the opposing trenches. The soldiers emerged again on Christmas morning and began singing Christmas carols, especially “Silent Night.” They recited the 23rd Psalm together and played soccer and football. Again, Christmas gifts were exchanged and meals were prepared openly and attended by the opposing forces. Weintraub quotes one soldier’s observation of the event: “Never . . . was I so keenly aware of the insanity of war” (p. 33).
The first official British history of the war came out in 1926 which indicated that the Christmas Truce was a very insignificant matter with only a few people involved. However, Weintraub states:
“During a House of Commons debate on March 31, 1930, Sir H. Kinglsey Wood, a Cabinet Minister during the next war, and a Major ‘In the front trenches’ at Christmas 1914, recalled that he ‘took part in what was well known at the time as a truce. We went over in front of the trenches and shook hands with many of our German enemies. A great number of people [now] think we did something that was degrading.’ Refusing to presume that, he went on, ‘The fact is that we did it, and I then came to the conclusion that I have held very firmly ever since, that if we had been left to ourselves there would never have been another shot fired. For a fortnight the truce went on. We were on the most friendly terms, and it was only the fact that we were being controlled by others that made it necessary for us to start trying to shoot one another again.’ He blamed the resumption of the war on ‘the grip of the political system which was bad, and I and others who were there at the time determined there and then never to rest. . . . Until we had seen whether we could change it.’ But they could not.” (p. 169–70)
Published on Nov 29, 2012 by breakingtheset
Abby Martin returns from her trip to Haiti and goes over her interview with former US President Jimmy Carter and their discussion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the erosion of the rule of law in the US.
It seems I have recently heard some of these same sentiments spoken by the only honest and non warmongering presidential candidate the last two election cycles, Dr. Ron Paul!
My favourite scene from Good Will Hunting and pertinent to the principles of liberty in its condemnation of killing people abroad who have done no harm to you personally. Taken to it’s logical conclusion this belief should lead anybody who holds it to a pure libertarian position; though most won’t, of course.
For those wanting to see the rally in it’s entirety follow the C-Span links below.
- Ron Paul Rally in Tampa, FL – Part 1
- Ron Paul Rally – Part 2
- Campaign Rally with Ron Paul & Sen. Rand Paul – Part 3
Congressman Ron Paul urges withdrawal from Afghanistan during Defense Appropriations debate on July 18, 2012.
By Jeanine Molloff
During this summer of Occupy and subsequent police brutality, the subject of torture is hotly denounced by protesters and conveniently ignored by candidates. Like that ostrich diving head first into the sand of political expediency–Americans want to focus on the alleged debt crisis or gay marriage–anything that absolves us from the messy subject of tortures committed in our names by the Bush/Cheney administration and which continue under Obama to the present day. The entire Bradley Manning debacle speaks volumes to this accusation.
In spite of strong evidence identifying Dick Cheney as the mastermind behind this torture regime–the subject remains taboo, both in the ‘news’ business and in Hollywood–that is until Hollywood executives watched trailers for the anti-war documentary–The Last War Crime.
Written, produced and directed by a new talent known only as ‘The Pen,’ this film documents the torture protocol ordained by the Bush-Cheney administration. Since it first circulated a trailer on the web; it has been heavily censored and cyber attacked. You Tube has removed it at intermittent intervals and MTV (which is owned by Viacom) has refused to sell air time for a commercial.