Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Cause of War

This is a revised and expanded version of a previous post entitled "The 'Inevitable' Victory of Socialism".

There has never been a time for us living today when war was not a constant threat. Today we may be ending one war while we are in the throes of another in Afghanistan that may take years to win. I’m not sure that our President has the desire or the resolve needed to win this war. I'm thinking, if you don't know what to do, Mr. President, let's bring them home so we can prepare for the defensive war ahead.

The cause of these two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) is not the United States but dictatorship. In Iraq, we had a dictatorship that openly sought to weaken the USA. Saddam supported terrorists and financed attacks against Israel. He lied to the world and started several wars in his region. He was taken out by the freest country in the world. Yet, we were wrong, says the left, when we sought to depose Saddam.

In Afghanistan, we are fighting a brutal gang known as the Taliban; a group that gave refuge to Al Queda and Osama bin Ladin. The Taliban refused to help the United States bring these terrorists to justice so they were removed by the militaries of freer nations. This is a just war, we are told by the left (today), because we are trying to kill bin Ladin. Today, the Taliban continue their fight as they vie to restore their brutal domination over the country. Killing bin Ladin doesn't seem to be on the table.

It is difficult for us to recognize the most common cause of war. My view is that wars are started by authoritarian governments over weaker or freer countries. And since most of these governments are at constant war with capitalism, you can be sure that they are not friends of individual rights. This means they have an incentive to denigrate and “go after” other countries rich in natural resources. As Ludwig von Mises puts it:

“Durable peace is only possible under perfect capitalism, hitherto never and nowhere completely tried or achieved. In such a Jeffersonian world of unhampered market economy the scope of government activities is limited to the protection of the lives, health, and property of individuals against violent or fraudulent aggression. The laws, the administration, and the courts treat natives and foreigners alike. No international conflicts can arise: there are no economic causes of war.”[1]

Yet, the representatives of authoritarian governments gain credibility when they posture as defenders of peace while criticizing the United States as a warlike nation. It is a common scam that has been run by countless dictators from the Soviets to the Taliban. It is based on the Marxist lie that capitalism is about stealing the labor and resources of people in order to make the “evil” profit. Yet, as Mises explains, there has never been a fully capitalist system; any examples that they denigrate are mixed economies (or worse) where the governments have driven the the country into poverty through massive interventions; governments very much like those advocated by the critics of capitalism. Their scam is to blame the United States for being a war monger which justifies their making war against the United States without having to actually declare war.

The question is: why were most of the wars of the last two centuries started by dictatorships or authoritarian governments? The best way to understand this is by analyzing the types of governments that start wars.

For instance, why would a country that has open trade with the world want to go to war? As long as free markets prevail there is every incentive for peace. And as Mises points out, free market governments are limited to protecting the lives and properties of all citizens. By design, they have a respect for freedom and free peoples; likewise for the citizens of other countries. Free people want to make profits so they can live well. They are creative and “life-serving” by nature because they know that they must provide benefits and improvements to people in the form of products and services. They can’t make a profit if their customers and suppliers are dead or in chains.

On the other hand, a government that keeps a cold hand on the activities of its citizens, that wants to muscle in on the profits of businesses, will find every reason to restrict free trade and dishonor other countries. One such type of government is called an oligarchy where rich families use the government to control major industries and restrict free competition. This is called “muscling in” on markets and is not a hallmark of capitalism but of dictatorships. These governments covet other resource-rich territories because they want to monopolize those resources and charge prices above the level of the free market. If they can corner the markets for such resources as oil, minerals, diamonds, etc., they can charge exorbitant prices and make millions. They instigate wars so they can add these countries to their control. Such oligarchs divide the country into two factions: 1) their friends and 2) the impoverished and neglected masses who have no choice but to buy their necessities from them. Within their countries, they fight a constant war against the citizens; and outside their countries, they fight wars against other country’s the name of peace.

What about our policies? How will they impact our future actions regarding other nations? For instance, our government has violated the terms of NAFTA for the sake of union drivers. It has raised certain tariffs as a way of "protecting" American workers and, most worrisome of all, it has created massive budget deficits that threaten to weaken the dollar around the world. This move has brought about the threat of higher prices due to the Fed's increasing of the money supply (inflation). This massive expansion, that takes money right out of the pockets of productive citizens, is intended to enable the government to takeover large banks and manufacturing firms, create non-productive jobs, strengthen control over the people through Health Care and Cap and Trade as well as make other political payoffs to unions and political cronies. Of course, we mustn't forget another big killer of trade which is the expansion of union memberships advocated by President Obama and SEIU among others. This policy will most assuredly result in lower product quality, higher product prices and loss of productive jobs. All of these moves will create an oligarchy in our country made up of people like George Soros, friends of Barack Obama, other leftists and companies that either willingly participate in "muscling in" or are forced to participate out of fear of Obama's pitchforks. The result will be impoverished masses (you and I) and very possibly a warlike nation with diminishing economic power?

Understanding the cause of wars today is difficult because of the influence of Marxism. This philosophy seeks to mask the desire for plunder among many countries by claiming to fight for the supposed “victims” of capitalism. Using doublespeak and the Big Lie, they convince people that capitalist production is theft. American college professors are routinely teaching college students from around the world that wars are caused by capitalism and specifically by America. Routinely, they tell us that capitalist countries have a penchant for captured markets and resource theft. It is typical of the left to accuse the opposition of doing the very things the left is doing.

How do they get away with teaching these lies? Early Marxists created the perfect scam to convince people that there was indeed something evil about capitalism. It is called the dialectical process or dialectical materialism which was a mystical assertion that capitalism was the thesis that was being replaced by the antithesis which is socialism. A historical struggle was falsely postulated and by selective analysis, the Marxists claimed to “prove” that capitalism was doomed to destruction at the hands of the “workers of the world.” This idea of an inevitable historical process that would cause the replacement of capitalism by socialism was not to be doubted, they told us, and, they claim, there is no reason to fight it; instead we should hurry the process along. This is how progressives today convince people that they have no choice about the coming socialism. Educate the people about the inevitability of socialism and you destroy opposition to it.

In fact, the "change" that Obama promises, according to this theory, is the road to the next step of the dialectical process. Change is the new term that will usher in the socialist antithesis to capitalism.

Over the last several decades, however, something seems to have gone wrong with the dialectical process. For some reason, socialism has not yet replaced capitalism. History has stopped being inevitable. Since the big war, Marxists such as Herbert Marcuse and others have been frustrated that the dialectical process did not work as they had thought. To explain this failure, they assert that "reactionary" forces, strengthened by the economic power of the capitalist countries, have tempted the masses away from communism. Their diabolical method of temptation was to give the people products and services that improved their lives...created by mass production and mass marketing (This is why the Marxists (environmentalists and others) are always trying to stop industrial progress and why they hate Madison Avenue). Further, they claim, the capitalist military industrial complex has built massive weapons that have kept the socialist axis at bay. In their view, only something as evil and powerful as capitalism could thwart the efforts of the “good” people (murderous dictators) seeking to stop the dastardly exploitation of the workers.

For the Marxists, the reason that socialism could not advance was the power of capitalism; which is strange since they had thought it would collapse of its own weight. This new circumstance of a powerful, diabolical capitalism has precipitated their efforts to cause it to collapse by stressing it with socialist programs, false charges of Imperialism, reduced military expenditures, violent street protests, bombings and ginned up scandals. Today, the anti-capitalists have captured the universities, distributed to themselves huge grants from the government treasury and perfected the scam of shaking down business organizations by threatening their self-interest. Those businesses who understand the “opportunity” created by the Marxists are the new oligarchs trying to “muscle in” through their fake government/business partnerships. They forget that Marxist theory has doomed them to destruction along with capitalism.

I think it is curious that the Obama administration never discusses dialectical materialism or even Marx or Hegel, yet it is operating on the basis of Marxism. Implicit in everything they do is the idea that socialism is the next form of government for us...while they tell us that it is not really socialism. These guys came out of Columbia University, for God's sake. What else do you expect?

The problem for the Marxists is that the dialectical process, because it is a false idea accepted without proof of any kind, will still not create a successful socialist will do what it has always done...create an oligarchic dictatorship, economic decline and slavery. It will bring us back to barbarism by destroying the only bulwarks against dictatorship: individual rights and limited government. It will also require wars, as a matter of political survival for the leftists. Every dictatorship must have enemies...but our enemies won't be other dictatorships; they will be the former allies that take a more capitalist road.

There is a spark of hope on the horizon. The Tea Parties may save America because we have the power to stop the advance of socialism...we can make the leftists stop all the spending that would collapse our economy. We can say “No” because our production makes possible the purse from which they rob us of our freedom and dignity. We must insist that they create no more entitlement programs, no more social engineering programs, no more ACORN, SEIU, Americorps, no more lies and hate. The Tea Party protesters are the only people who know that our choices going forward are either socialism or freedom. There is no middle way...not any more.

The best way to stop wars is to re-establish the Constitution and reject Marxism and oligarchy in all their forms.

[1] Ludwig von Mises, “Omnipotent Government” Libertarian Press page 284

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