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.
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.
would see the earth tumble into the sun 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.
rulers are not a law unto themselves.
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
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.
use "we" when speaking of the government.
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
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!
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.
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.
is not "good for the economy."
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.
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
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."
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
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."
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
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
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 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.