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After 9/11, anti-war libertarians started to really hate the Nolan chart and the accompanying “Word’s Smallest Political Quiz” because it had a “personal” axis and an “economic” axis but absolutely nothing on foreign policy, so all these hawks scored as pure libertarians without ever learning that war is the health of the state.

Walter Block suggests the Nolan Chart needs 3 axes:

  1. personal intervention
  2. economic intervention
  3. foreign intervention

In the 3D model, a “pure” libertarian would reject all 3 forms of intervention.

But even limiting himself to 2 axes, Rothbard better captured the issue:

  1. the welfare state
  2. the warfare state

And he emphasized that they were 2 sides of the same coin, a point utterly lost on left- and right-wingers.What brought these thoughts to mind this morning was an article that Anthony Gregory forwarded to me:

“Will the West defend itself?” by Walter E. Williams:

Any attempt to annihilate our Middle East enemies would create all sorts of handwringing about the innocent lives lost, so-called collateral damage.

Such an argument would have fallen on deaf ears during World War II when we firebombed cities in Germany and Japan. The loss of lives through saturation bombing far exceeded those lost through the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Ahh, those were the days! Remember when it was heroic to incinerate civilians? Let’s not go too far back in time, though. A century earlier, western nation-states were establishing rules of war that would make everything the US military has done since then a serious war crime.

Anthony Gregory points out: “Williams is more seen explicitly as a libertarian, rather than as a conservative free marketer like Sowell.” How depressing. I’m sorry I ever implied that Walter Williams is a libertarian. I was taking Tom DiLorenzo’s word for it.

As one comrade recently asked, “Why are so many of the prominent iconoclastic un-PC anti-left free-marketer African Americans such warmongers? Sowell, Williams, Elder, Steele …”

Good question. Here’s one I find much more puzzling. The 3 biggest lies of Establishment History, American Chapter are

  1. Lincoln was a good man;
  2. FDR’s New Deal was a good policy;
  3. WWII was a good war.

(I invite any of you to disagree with my quick list of the big 3.)

Williams has rejected the first two on that list. Why would #3 be harder than #1?

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One Response to inflammatory

  1. Here are some thoughts on possible reasons that even someone who questions or dismisses the myths surrounding the Civil War might not similarly be skeptical of the conventional attitudes toward World War II.The most obvious difference to me is that World War II happened more recently. There are still people alive today who fought in it. Most Americans probably know someone who fought in it. There is a stronger psychological urge to defend it.Furthermore, the stakes involved in debates over that war are so high. It was in many ways the biggest human event in World History, and certainly the most destructive. About fifty million people died, 2/3 of whom were civilians. The US government killed millions of people, including children, in that war. In fact, in targeted them. People don’t want to believe this could have been for nothing. The Civil War seems more distant.In both cases, the war was supposedly one of liberation and one against an evil regime. But a strong minority of Americans don’t want to think of the South as deserving what came to it. Heck, most pro-war Americans are probably sympathetic to the cultural associations of the “bad side” in the Civil War. Blacks were supposedly liberated by the necessary and just Civil War, whereas Jews were supposedly liberated by the necessary and just Second World War. Now, in both cases, it can be touchy to question this account at all. But there’s been more time since the Civil War, and these days it’s probably more likely you’ll be accused of being anti-Jewish for questioning WWII than being anti-black or pro-slavery for questioning the Civil War. In the case of Walter Williams, and other black Americans skeptical of Lincoln, they are probably less likely to feel pressure not to question the Liberator of the Blacks, than they would feel not to question the Liberator of the Jews. (And perhaps a Jewish commentator would be given more slack in questioning World War II than he would the Civil War, at least comparatively).And even Lincoln apologists would probably concede that the Confederacy’s soldiers weren’t all fighting for an evil cause — some were obviously fighting, whether we think it was wise or correct or not, in percieved defense of their homeland. The Nazis don’t get even that much benefit of a doubt. And since most people have a collectivist, nationalist streak, if the Nazis were pure evil, the innocent Germans firebombed in WWII probably deserved it to some degree, whereas the relatively less evil Confederates rendered their Southern compatriots less collectively guilty. Furthermore, since both sides in the Civil War were American, the nationalists who are indeed on the winning side of victor’s history do not feel as compelled to silence all attempts to humanize the enemy or to question aspects of the Union’s conduct of the war. The war was one to reaffirm the principles that we’re all Americans, after all. Overall, there is just something more sacred about World War II than the Civil War. Hitler is seen as an embodiment of evil against which no one, even perhaps WWII-era US-ally Stalin, compares. This is the way it’s taught in schools. No one, on the other hand, sees Jefferson Davis in quite this light. Perhaps part of the reason is all the sympathizers of the American South since the Civil War and their impact on the way history is interpreted. I think that people are really devoted to defending WWII because it was so horrific and people just don’t want to believe it was as much an anti-Japanese race war, as far as American sentiment was concerned, or a war for US imperialism and New Deal fascism, as far as American politicians were concerned, as it was any other kind of war. I really think that in another generation or two, we’ll see a shift towards more openness to different points of view on World War II.

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