I am “For The Troops!”

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I was a career solider for the empire.  I started this career before I learned.  If I hadn’t been a state soldier, I may have never learned.  I fear that I would have been one of those “flag-waving” chickenhawks who think that everything the U.S. Empire does is for our freedom (ha!) and for peace.  Ironic how the loudest voices for violence are those walled up in the fortress.

Gassing up a death machine

Gassing up a death machine

Further, my status as a retired soldier rebuts the idiotic claim that you can’t fight for peace “if you’ve never served.”  Think of that, just for a moment.  Somebody [else] who discovers that war is nothing but organized mindless death before they ever even consider entering military service, thus they never become a trained killer for the State.  Somebody who puts their action with their beliefs gets some knucklehead who tells them, “it’s a good thing there are those wiling to fight for your right to be a hippie/commie/coward” or just “you’ve never served.”  …and yet, many lend credibility to those who have “served” (the State).  It’s like saying how can you know rape [or insert any sin here] is wrong unless you’ve tried it.  All the while, countless cowards sit in the fortress (see above) beating the war drums, calling for more cruelty.

While having committed a sin definitely is not a requirement to speak against it, those with a conscience that have recognized their wrongdoing do have a lesson to teach others.  It is my hope that my experience can do this.  As a teenager, I felt compelled to serve a higher calling.  I thought the U.S. Air Force would allow me to serve, that is, to defend freedom.  I entered the Academy already infected with the belief that I was protecting liberty, but I think the four years of indoctrination successfully planted the seed that would eventually lead me to the truth: that war as logical had to be forced on the mind.  The military academy did everything it could to convince me that the State was the ultimate defender of freedom.  That I was “better” because I would give up my life for its interests.  This teaching was effective in suppressing the truth, but it did not brainwash me.   In short, the “over the top” re-education provided by the military, starting with my Academy days, had the opposite effect of what was intended.  It took me years to work this out, but war after war after war helped me see the ludicrosity (yes, I made that word up special, just for this moment) of the State.

Yes, I have “served” and I think of war not as a last resort, but as a tumor on human thought…it is no resort at all, and its root is the State.  I am not so naive as to think war will be eradicated from our existence.  Humans are masters at violence and power, and when these combine there will be the smell of death to innocents in the air.  So what is one to do?  How does one build speed bumps on the road to war?  As alluded to, I am convinced it is to reduce (i.e. divide) the power first, rather than the violence, and the State is where the monopoly on power resides.  My only route is to persuade, and to persuade, and to persuade that power concentrated over so many subjects is how tyranny prevails.

A Warplane Graveyard: Imagine more of these here.

A Warplane Graveyard: Imagine more of these here.

Those who think that “war is not the ugliest of things” (vis-a-vis John Stewart Mill, read the full quote here), have given up.  There are so many more options available before violence is an option.  However, the State has us convinced that war is the way, way too soon.  Why?  When all you have is a hammer, then everything is a nail.

It is my hope that by thinking this through together, by continuing the dialogue about liberty, the individual will gain power at the expense of the State.  Then, when there is a call to war, nobody will come.  The effort of liberty-lovers will require persistence.  The belief in true liberty has to be so strong and pervasive, that action (or rather inaction) will be required.  It’s a grand goal, but certainly worth the effort.  Eventually, we may hit a tipping point of thought, where liberty trumps nationalism…one can hope, no?

You see, I am “for the troops.”  For their liberty, their sanity, and their safety.  Bring them home.

“We who have touched war have a duty to bring the truth about war to those who have not had a direct experience of it.  We are the light at the tip of the candle.  It is really hot, but it has the power of shining and illuminating. If we practice mindfulness, we will know how to look deeply into the nature of war and, with our insight, wake people up to that together we can avoid repeating the same horrors again and again” –Thich Nhat Hanh

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John Stuart Mill…On War

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Here is a quote, by John Stuart Mill, that I was required to memorize as an 18 year-old in basic cadet training:

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. …A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

But here is the full quote, that was NOT shared with me (notice the part that was deleted…hmmm):

“But war, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil which a nation can suffer.  War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse.  When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people.  A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration.  A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.  As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.”

My reflections after more than 20 years.  This quote was pummeled into my brain, without the full context, to reinforce the fact that I am not to ask questions, but to accept that the State’s reasons for war are just.  We need more people to ask, if “people are [being] used as mere human instruments…in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master?”

Cannon Balls

Incidentally, this was written by Mill to persuade the the public to support the Union in the U.S. Civil War.

Essentially, this quote is useless in justifying war.  It is an oblique statement that says, “I hate war, but you know, this war is OK because the reasons are right.”  However, it is the reasons that are the hard part, and as long as the bar is kept low to justify war, as they are today (and drones count, by the way) then this Mill piece is nothing more than reaffirming evidence.

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Why Traffic Regulations Matter

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My last few posts have been about calls for government to make us safer on the Antelope Valley Freeway (AVF), as a result of a hypothetical multi-car tragedy.  You can read about it here.  

The final three calls for safety from that article are as follows.

  1. We need higher traffic fines.
  2. Let’s tax fuel to reduce traffic.
  3. If we build a monorail between Palmdale and Burbank, it will reduce traffic.

While my intent was to break these down individually, I realized that would get laborious so I decided to generalize: all calls for government intervention are to ask for less liberty, and to delegate away property from one person to another.  Period.

Are you a drone?

Are you a drone?

There are prominent thinkers and many others who think libertarians should stick to domestic civic issues such as traffic laws and drugs.  To some, talking about traffic laws on the AVF is exactly the lane (hey, that’s a pun!) libertarians should stay in.  To others, explaining how less State action would make for better foreign policy and less war is where I should be expending my time.  I really don’t want to get bogged down on this particular local matter, but the AVF illustrates a microcosm of a larger problem.  Separating domestic and foreign issues when it comes to liberty is a very tenuous game.  In short, the way people think about domestic issues should affect how they think about whether a nation-state has the right to reach out and kill children far-away with drones and missiles.  I know too many cannot make the connection, but it is important to bridge that gap, I think.

A libertarian mindset is a holistic one.  It is my opinion that to be “kind of” libertarian is like being “kind of” pregnant.  When you invite the State to control you, you certainly allow it to control everything.  Allowing the State to gain more and more power is based on fear:  fear of a car crash, fear of a terrorist attack, fear of poisoned foods, fear of being fat.  Eventually, you get sloth on top of the fear.  Actually, it might be a learned helplessness.  Eventually, not only do more and more people become accustomed to not looking out for themselves, those who may have wished to do so find it impossible because of the regulation, taxation, and legalized theft of property.

But the violence begets more violence.  Drone attacks on foreign soil produce enemies of the U.S. (see Blowback).  Contrary to the propaganda, they don’t hate us for our freedom (which is absolutely ridiculous), “they” hate “us” because “we” (words used cautiously) collectively approved (supposedly) our government’s interventionist foreign policy.  In essence, too many have bought that without the State, we would not be safe, we would not have justice, and people could not coexist.

Another type of drone.

Another type of drone (USAF Reaper).

As government creates more problems, it claims it needs more power to fix them…this is regardless of whether it is traffic laws or drones attacking foreign lands.  That’s why hacking away at its power one mind at a time is of the essence.

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Sociopathic Hyprocisy

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Imagine being so important that you need armed guards who are authorized to kill, even if they think someone is a threat to you.  Now imagine believing this is true; that your life is so important, that you require an entire army of people with automatic weapons, assault rifles, grenades, drones, whatever it takes just to ensure that your life is protected.  This includes after (click here) you are the so called leader of the “free” world (imagine that, a LEADER of the FREE world…oxyMORONic)

agents

Click on photo for more!

Now imagine that, simultaneously, you think that you have the right to decide whose life can be protected with this type of force, and whose life should not (click here).  Additionally, that you can restrict this ability for over 300 million by a decree (called an executive order in “newspeak”) made ONLY BY YOU, who should be allowed to defend themselves and who should not.

To have both beliefs, 1) that you deserve a lifetime army of protection, and 2) that you should limit others in this ability, seems hypocritical, no?  If you were to think this way, one might think you were a sociopath.  Of course power does corrupt, doesn’t it?

Who owns this assault weapons collection?  Hmmm...

Who owns this assault weapons collection? Hmmm…

Same issue, different hypocrite:  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo suggests that certain types of weapons are far too scary.  He says,“No one hunts with an assault rifle. No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer.”

While some people may need 10 bullets to kill a deer (and if I were a starving hunter, I would want the ability…I could eat around the pellets.  Now that I think about it, I would probably need more than 10), his implication is meant to imply that assault weapons are for killing people.  In this implication, he is basically correct.  So apparently, since this is true, that assault weapons (the ones that look scary) are meant for people, they should be banned.

To this I say, Mr. Governor, you first.  You must disarm your posse now, your collection of police, guards, and the National Guard, because we are not deer, either.  Nor am I a sheep.

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