Destroying the Myth That Military Power Equals Freedom

military power equals freedomAs I was finishing up my liberty entertainment article a few weeks ago, I checked lists that other people had made, just to see if I had forgotten something. As I did, I was dismayed to find that in most of these lists, pro-liberty really meant pro-military.

So I think it’s time to take a quick look at the myth that military power gives us liberty.

The Fantasy of the Foreign Oppressor

There is a plot that lies behind this “military power equals freedom” belief. It says that the enemy of liberty is a foreign invader. So, if the outsider is afraid to approach, we are free.

It implies that “local rule equals freedom.”

This is simply a lie. But it’s a lie that works very well in fiction.

Back in the real world, the hometown of an oppressor – whether it be near or far – makes him no better or worse.

Are we free because the people who rule us reside within local borders? Does that remain true even when it’s the “inside our lines” people who oppress us?

May only foreigners be oppressors?

Consider these recent cases:

  • No people suffered more to defeat Hitler than the Russians. So did killing the foreign invader make them free? Hardly – it kept Stalin, who killed far more people than Hitler ever did, in power.
  • What about Southern blacks in 1950? Almost everything done to them was “under the law,” and they were protected by a massive military and a nuclear arsenal capable of reducing any invader to ashes. Were they free?
  • And what about their great-grandparents who were slaves? They were militarily protected, after all. And their local oppressors operated fully under the rule of law. The  Supreme Court approved. Did that make them free?
  • The people of Eastern Europe were protected by a Soviet arsenal that included thousands of atomic bombs. They were further protected by constitutions and courts, all of which were locally administered. Were they free?

I could go on, but I think the point is made: The vast majority of human oppression comes at the hands of locals, not foreigners.

That’s a fact, whether or not it works as a movie plot.

I know that many good men and women have spent time in various military capacities, but the fact is this:

Foreign invaders abuse far, far fewer people than do local bosses.

And here’s another fact: Once a foreign invader takes control of a new place, he usually tries very hard to keep the populace happy. The foreigner does not murder civilians by the millions… but local rulers do. (Think of Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, etc. They each killed millions of locals.)

The Flip Side of Xenophobia

Xenophobia is fear of the foreigner and usually applies to things like hating immigrants. But it’s not always “fear.” It’s more often a need to keep the foreigner beneath us.

In any case, classic expressions of xenophobia involve punishing immigrants, Jews, or some other outsiders (justified by whatever facts can be conveniently assembled).

It seems to me that the myth we mentioned above, “military power equals freedom,” is the flip side of this xenophobia phenomenon:

  • On one side of this “xenophobia coin,” we have outsiders whom we need to keep beneath us.
  • On the other side, we have outsiders whom we must prevent from putting us beneath them.

Both of these fears come from a dominance instinct:

We must allow no one above us.

We must keep those below us in place.

Both of these impulses are irrational, and they tend to travel together.

Perhaps I’m missing something, but my experience tells me this:

The people who love the “military equals freedom” fantasy are the same people who oppose immigrants.

That’s not just an American thing, by the way. You see it more or less everywhere.

I know that there are many exceptions to this statement (we’re talking about millions of individuals, after all, many of whom DO analyze their own minds), but I think this statement holds up:

“Military equals freedom” grows from the same impulse as xenophobia.

The Case of America

Since the majority of my readers seem to be Americans, I’ll devote a minute to the US’s fear of the “foreign devil.”

Should Americans really take an “alien invasion” seriously? Even when surrounded by two huge oceans and friendly people to the north and south? (The trouble in Mexico exists largely because the US government created it.)

There is no potential invader who takes invasion seriously. Here’s what Japan’s Admiral Yamamoto said during the hostilities of World War II:

You cannot invade mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.

No foreign power would seriously consider invading America, where there are 270 million guns in the hands of ordinary people. Everyone, not just boys in uniforms, would be a deadly threat.

The US can be taken by stealth, but not by an open invasion. If the American people ever paid attention to what was being done to them, no oppressor would survive it.

To close this discussion, here’s a quote from General Douglas MacArthur, who knew something about America and war:

Our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear.

We need to let go of fear and think rationally.

Very seldom do foreigners oppress us. The vast majority of oppression comes from within.

Paul Rosenberg

11 thoughts on “Destroying the Myth That Military Power Equals Freedom”

  1. While few Americans seem to have ever heard of the Allied Holocaust you can bet it was taught to Russian students. While not as many as the Jewish Holocaust victims two million anti-communist Russian citizens is a lot of people. Their blood was on the hands of the British and U.S. militarily because of Churchill and Roosevelt turning them over to Stalin or as FDR called Joseph Stalin, Uncle Joe, to be tortured and killed. You won’t find this in our government controlled public schools history books.

  2. And Libertarians are pro-gun, why? You’re chances of saving the day by stopping a violent criminal thanks to your gun are infinitesimal since most crime happens between family and “friends”.
    You suppose having a military is wrong but million of Americans with guns will save the day? That sounds like pretty much the same thing: one group kills off another.

    1. I’m not a spokesman for Libertarians, Gil, they can speak for themselves.

      Their point, however, will be that they have the right to defend themselves. And I agree with them.

      1. Okay: and Conservatives are pro-gun, why? The individual has the right to be prejudiced and uses violent force but frown when the gubmint does it?

    2. Your comments are a joke…right??? First, your statement: “…most
      crime happens between family and ‘friends’” is blatantly false. The DoJ’s
      own reports shows that criminal offenses, meaning murder, sex offenses,
      robbery, aggravated assault and simple assault, occur between non-family members 89% of the time. It also points out that of that 89%; 36.6% of the time the crime is committed by an acquaintance and 46.1% of the time by a stranger. That leaves you a paltry 6.3% of the crimes are committed by friends and 11% by family members. These figures hardly qualify as “most”.

      Second, you are obviously confused by the terms defense and aggression.
      The second amendment was instituted as a right of defense for: first, the
      individual against the criminal element that all societies have; second, the
      nation as a standing army of civilians (think Sweden) against foreign aggression (think the British Empire) and third; as a defense for civilization against a rogue centralized federal government.

      Now, what is very interesting is your criminal attitude concerning those who wish to harm no one unless there is need because of criminal aggression by equating them with the assailant. It seems you not only have a problem with figures you also have a problem with being civilized.

    3. Yet over 2 million crimes a year are stopped and/or prevented by plain citizens with guns. In less than 2% are firearms actually discharged. The Founders knew what they were doing. They wanted the citizenry able to stop the government itself from “invading”…which it has done. Slowly, slowly, over decades, but they’re now at the gates.

  3. Our worst enemy is the military/industrial complex made up of huge corporations of arms industries, retired high ranking military officers are at the top of these corporations and lobby congress incessantly, Eisenhow warned us about them in his farewell speech to the American people in 1960 where he coined the phrase, our leaders did not or would not listen so we are where we are today, until we rid ourselves of this industry we will continue down the path of thousands of unnecessary military bases around the world, a huge unnecessary military force with sophisticated weapons, and the supplying of other countries with arms……….

  4. ” The greatest crime since WW II has been U.S. foreign policy.” U.S. Army General Ramsey Clark. Consider the following: In 1907 the President of Princeton University Woodrow Wilson declared,” The doors of the nations which are closed must be battered down…concessions obtained by financiers must be safeguarded by ministers of state, even if the sovereignty of unwilling nations are outraged in the process.” In 1949 George Kennan, the head of the state department planning staff said in a memo that the Third World was to ” fulfill its major function as a source of raw materials and a market for the industrial capitalist societies. It was to be exploited.” Example one. 2010: The Pentagon projected that Afghanistan could become the ” Saudi Arabia ” of lithium. London banker Ian Hannam, a mining expert with J.P. Morgan stated that Afghanistan could become one of the leading producers of copper, gold, and iron ore in the the world. Petraeus said, ” there is stunning potential here.” Afghanistan officials estimated mineral worth at three trillion dollars. The pentagon sent a team of geologist to Afghanistan to help the Afghans. The TAPI pipeline is protected by U.S. military bases built along the proposed route. U.S. troops still protect the poppy fields for various warlords. Bush said, They hate us for our freedom. How about they hate us because of what we have done to their countries and their men, women and children through our U.S. foreign policy since the invasion of the Philippines, taking of Hawaii and of Panama to establish the Suez Canal. Recent studies found on average Americans spend 1,460 hours watching television and only 99 hours reading books.

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