Days like this continue to be strange for me. Much like Veterans Day, my Facebook feed blows up in a bipolar reflection of my conservative military post and my libertarian anti-war present. I rarely speak out on these issues, instead I spend these days with friends enjoying the beauty of life and try to live away from my computer for just a bit. Today that isn’t possible as I sit in the Newark airport sucking down coffee and waiting for my flight back home.
As I mentioned, my Facebook feed is currently pretty bipolar. On one side is my republican conservative past. Pictures of flags, graves, quotes, and requests for prayer for the troops litter the feed. All troops are heroes and we should support them with a nationalistic fervor. To question any military action on a day like this is deemed inappropriate or even treasonous. Unsurprising to me, most of the men I served with do not fall in this category, they seem to prefer to turn their thoughts to the men we knew, drink a beer, and leave the flash waving out of it.
On the other end of the spectrum there is the extreme anti-war movement libertarians. They litter my feed with demonizing all military as murderers who deserve death. Their Facebook profile seem to rarely have their birth name or picture and instead hide behind pictures of Rothbard or a gold and black flag. Their anti-nationalism approaches knee jerk zealotry and they seem more interested in arguing instead of engaging in meaningful debate.
I think both of these sides are wrong in their treatment of this holiday and military veterans. Those who stand up to violence and evil to protect their loved ones are doing something honorable. To stand up and say, “you shall not harm my family, enslave my children, or kill my friends until my heart no longer beats” is a noble act, and a moral one. But, to blindly support political actions that send these brave people to war to kill and die needlessly is foolish at best.
It is easy to say from behind a computer screen that those who enlist are immoral because they should “know better”. I’m certainly not making excuses to remove individual responsibility but we all should try to understand where people are coming from. New enlisted military are usually young and have spent most of their life in government schools being told to obey, not to think. We have two pro-war political parties which means the media, the schools, and likely the dinner table never have an anti-war voice. The internet had the potential to spread the liberty message but if the vocal messengers seem extreme, like calling soldiers murderers, they don’t help anything.
So, on this Memorial Day I lift my glass to the men and women who bravely said they are willing to die before they see freedom die. I encourage them each to read about blowback, research America’s imperial interventionist history, and listen to some of Ron Paul videos on YouTube. Check out Bastiat and Milton Friedman, and maybe find a libertarian you trust to ask them questions. And, if you are feeling conflicted and still in the military, check out your options to become a conscientious objector.
To the political leaders and crony capitalists I say FUCK YOU! You are protected by better men and women then you. You should know better and despite your intentions you should be judged by your results, and these results have lead to undesirable damage through loss of life, destruction, and mental and physical injuries. I hope the day comes when you give the approval to some unnecessary intervention overseas and soldiers say no. I hope they shove a rifle in your hand and ship you out to some other land. Maybe if you aren’t sitting in some air conditioned office collecting and absurd paycheck far away from danger you will act more responsibly with the lives and liberties you were elected to protect.
(Please forgive any errors, writing this on a phone is a little awkward)