Question War

The vast majority take a default position in defense of war.

I find this bizarre.

The other day, I posted this cartoon depicting a group of people dumping a cart full of weapons labeled “war” off a cliff on Facebook. The caption read, “How to make the world a better place.”


Apparently, this constitutes a controversial idea.


Objectively speaking, the world would be a better place without war.

Wouldn’t it? I mean, is this even debatable? And yet memes like this literally make people angry.

Again, why?

Now, if I were to post a cartoon asserting that the world would be a better place without murder, or rape, or robbery, or racial intolerance, it would get hundreds of “likes.” If I posted a meme advocating the abolition of hunger, or disease, everybody would agree and call me a great humanitarian.

And yet, the exact same message about war elicits negative comments and charges that I’m “an idealist.”

Certainly, imagining a world without war is idealist. I don’t deny that. But so is imagining a world without hunger, or rape, or murder, or racial discord, or any number of things we all endeavor to eliminate from the planet. Generally, humankind strives toward ideals. It doesn’t reject them.

So, why do people defend war? And worse, why do they ridicule those who take any strong position against it?

I find it particularly galling that the same people who most vocally advocate for limit government cheerlead war.  Modern American conservatives condemn virtually every government action as inefficient, wrongheaded and ineffective. And yet most of them unquestioningly embrace every justification for war trotted out by the very same politicians they view with utter contempt in every other context. Do these bureaucrats and government officials suddenly become geniuses when it comes to foreign policy? Do they get everything wrong except war?


I am not a pacifist. I recognize the right to self-defense. But I also understand that, as Randolph Bourne so eloquently put it, “war is the health of the state.”

In the freest of republics as well as in the most tyrannical of empires, all foreign policy, the diplomatic negotiations which produce or forestall war, are equally the private property of the Executive part of the Government, and are equally exposed to no check whatever from popular bodies, or the people voting as a mass themselves.

“The moment war is declared, however, the mass of the people, through some spiritual alchemy, become convinced that they have willed and executed the deed themselves. They then, with the exception of a few malcontents, proceed to allow themselves to be regimented, coerced, deranged in all the environments of their lives, and turned into a solid manufactory of destruction toward whatever other people may have, in the appointed scheme of things, come within the range of the Government’s disapprobation. The citizen throws off his contempt and indifference to Government, identifies himself with its purposes, revives all his military memories and symbols, and the State once more walks, an august presence, through the imaginations of men. Patriotism becomes the dominant feeling, and produces immediately that intense and hopeless confusion between the relations which the individual bears and should bear toward the society of which he is a part.”

You cannot have “limited government” while simultaneously waging war across the world. It took me a long time to understand this. I played cheerleader for every war in my lifetime up until a couple of years ago.

And now I question it.

I’m asking you to question it as well. To reflexively defend and embrace war is a symptom of a moral sickness – an ethical decay. War is murder, mayhem and destruction rolled out on a vast scale. How can we so callously accept it as “just the way it is?” How can we literally embrace it as a “national good?” We don’t do that with murder, or rape, or robbery – not even hunger. We condemn these evils in the strongest terms and make every effort to eradicate them from society.

Maybe it’s time to do the same with war.

We may not be able to avoid every war, but shouldn’t we at least question them?

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3 Responses to “Question War”

  1. CalJune 10, 2016 at 10:31 am #

    “Apparently, this constitutes a controversial idea.”

    I do not believe it was the message, it was the picture used. Why do I say that? Because what one first and most strongly sees is kids pushing weapons off a cliff. Not “war”. It looks very much like the propaganda being used to push the disarmament theory being used against the American people.

    Few are against war, but the America people are against being disarmed. Think not?

    Notice that Obama and his administration has done “great” things for both weapons industries, private and military arms. While working to increase unlawful wars of aggression with there standing (permanent) military, explicitly forbidden to all Americans by the US Constitution, and giving himself First Degree murder (assassination) powers. He, and others back to the murder of Kennedy – further back to Wilson, has at the same time been trying to destroy America and disarm her people. Each unlawful edict has inspired the purchase of weapons by the general populace.

    If your message was war is bad, then get a different picture, because the first and glaring message that one has is dump your weapons for the “good” of the children. Look at how good it was for the children in Nazi Germany, Lenin/Stalinist Russia, etc. It is NEVER good for the people to allow themselves to be disarmed. That invites that ultimate power that those craving power cannot resist as is seen throughout history, the crime of democide.

    • Michael MaharreyJune 10, 2016 at 12:40 pm #

      Not one of the comments relating to my original FB posting of the picture said anything about “disarmament.” All of the negative comments related to the subject of war itself. Apparently, they understood the very subtle nuance of printing “WAR” on the side of the cart.

  2. CalJune 10, 2016 at 11:05 am #

    “We may not be able to avoid every war, but shouldn’t we at least question them?’

    WE can avoid war. All that is needed is to enforce the US Constitution as is our constitutionally RETAINED duty to do. But understand it is not only the Militia which was NOT delegated to those who serve within our governments but retained by the people alone.
    There also was/and still are the Constitutions themselves as the contracts that those that serve are Oathbound to – with the Oaths being their enforceable personal guarantee.
    Then there is the Grand Jury, another tool that is openly and within the US Constitution retained by the people and NOT delegated to any branch or office within a branch of either of our governments.
    Add Grand Jury Investigations,
    Free and honest Elections which are another tool and the people’s voice which has been deliberately and treasonously silenced.
    There is the constitutionally required “Good Behaviour” requirement of all judges. (Good Behavior is judges doing the duties constitutionally assigned to that office and branch in a constitutional manner, and taking and keeping their Oaths.)

    These are all tools of the people for which we need not ask those who serve within our governments their permission to use. We retained those powers, they were NOT delegated to others.

    You see, WE are the enforcement arm of our governments – state and general, and by that constitutional requirement it forbids all other agencies to be used for those purposes.

    What is going on is our fault as the First Branch of the American government – with the states being the Second Branch, and the third and most restricted Third Branch being the general (federal referring to the complete system) government.

    28 C.F.R. Section 0.85 Terrorism is defined as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”.

    George Washington, “Sentiments on a Peace Establishment”, letter to Alexander Hamilton; “The Writings of George Washington”: “It may be laid down, AS A PRIMARY POSITION, AND THE BASIS OF OUR SYSTEM, THAT EVERY CITIZEN every citizen who enjoys the protection of a free government…, but even of his personal services to the defence of it, and consequently that the Citizens of America (with a few legal and official exceptions) from 18 to 50 Years of Age SHOULD BE BORNE ON THE MILITIA ROLLSs, provided with uniform Arms, and so far accustomed to the use of them, THAT THE TOTAL STRENGTH OF THE COUNTRY MIGHT BE CALLED FORTH AT SHORT NOTICE ON ANY VERY INTERESTING EMERGENCY.”

    It is our duty to be the armed enforcement for the government so that they cannot easily overstep the boundaries laid around them by the contracts they are under – the US Constitution and each state’s Constitution. We the people are the Militia. It is our duty to be armed, trained in the use of those arms, and trained in the US Constitution and the Constitution of our state. Why? To prevent what is going on here in America today.

    We are forbidden to have a permanent military which is why US Presidents are the Commander in Chief ONLY when the Militia and/or the military is “called into the actual service Service of the United States”.

    But more importantly those that serve within our governments – state and general (federal) – are REQUIRED to use the Militia made up of the American people for the purposes of
    — Enforcing the US Constitution (Supreme LAW of this land) and each state’s Constitution (highest LAW of the state),
    — Enforcing and keeping the “Laws of the Union” (which are constitutional laws ONLY),
    — Protecting the country against all enemies both domestic and foreign, and
    — “suppressing Insurrections and REPELLING INVASIONS”.

    That is found in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 15: “To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel invasions.“

    The duties those who serve within the state and general (federal) governments have to the militias are found in Clause 16: “To provide for organizing, *arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress”.

    *George Washington: “A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.”

    Because as Michael LeMieux explains here: “The Constitution has very little to do with the American citizen. It was written to establish a Federal Government and to place the boundaries by which that government would operate. The constitution was never designed to provide or enumerate the rights of the citizens but to restrain the federal government from meddling in state and ultimately citizen affairs.”

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