I don't fisk often, but consider this a fisking.
This was written by N. Joseph Potts and published by the Mises Institute: Paid to Fight, Paid More to Die
. The Mises Institute should be ashamed to publish this under their aegis, and N. Joseph Potts should be ashamed of having written it.
Welfare/warfare states such as today's America are distinguished by the ever-tightening grip the collective exercises over the course of their citizens' lives, as the expression goes, from the cradle to the grave.
Yeah, yeah, welfare/warfare states. They never tire of saying it, they really think it's clever.
Such governments are also distinguished, of course, by their propensity to expend not only the interests and energies of their people in the pursuit of the goals of the governing class, but their very lives as well, as when hundreds of thousands of young men and women are put first in uniform and then in harm's way to fight wars and—win or lose—extend their masters' imperial reach at the cost of their blood.
You know, reading that you wouldn't guess that all of America's troops are volunteers. "hundreds of thousands of young men and women are put first in uniform and then in harm's way"-nice use of the passive voice to deceive. Oh, and I doubt any American soldier considers anyone his "master"; thank God N. Joseph Potts was around to condescend to America's finest young men and women.
The death toll, however, is harder to hide than the material waste and destruction, much of which is conveniently hidden in some distant part of the world where few American taxpayers venture in any case.
Because Americans are dumb and ignorant. If only they knew everything like I do, they'd be annoying Libertarians like me!
How, then, to mollify the complainers who point out the tragic, not to say pointless, loss of husbands, mothers, brothers and daughters?
I know what I want to do to this complainer, and it's not to mollify him, it's to slap him with the back of my hand for calling heroic sacrifice in the service of spreading freedom "pointless". America's mothers, wives, daughters and sisters thank you for your sensitivity. This is what "libertarianism" has become, a bunch of jackasses? Or was it always this bad and I just didn't see it when I was a young Libertarian?
An easy, direct way, it would seem, would be to give those surviving wives, fathers, sisters and sons money. Indeed, to quiet the American people in general about their senseless slaughter, just give them their own money back, taken in taxes, then selectively bestowed back again in death benefits.
Americans are stupid sheep and can be successfully shut up while their sons are led to the slaughter as long as they get money for it. Is this guy for real? Does anyone except Libertarians and Marxists think this way? Everything is not about money, Marxitarians.
The Bush Administration has seized this very idea and run with it in a proposal embedded in the 2006 budget package, mandating a payout of $250,000 to the beneficiary of every soldier, sailor, or airman who dies in any combat zone of the present or future, presenting to a grateful nation the prospect of a potentially endless bonanza of mortal heroism as America prosecutes its endless war to spread democracy.Lord, I am so mad!
Now, it won't just be Islamist suicide bombers whose families are limned and paid off for the death of their fighters—American warriors, too, will have a rather similar emolument, which for the economically disadvantaged families so overrepresented in the ranks of the armed forces may bulk quite as large economically as do those received by the survivors of their adversaries. If it works for Islam, maybe it will work for democracy as well.
The government offering peace of mind to soldiers that may
get killed in the line of duty that their families will be taken care of is morally equivalent to this sophisticated Libertarian to people being paid bounties
to kill themselves and take innocents with them. Let's review for simpletons and idiot Libertarians:
|American soldier||Suicide terrorist|
|Motive:||liberty and justice, love of mankind||religious supremacism, spite and hatred|
|Means:||killing terrorists and enemy soldiers; treating those who surrender or are wounded humanely; sparing the innocent||murdering, especially the innocent|
|Reason for payment on death:||helping families cope with the loss of their primary breadwinner; easing soldiers' minds as to what will become of their families if they give their lives in battle; to reassure those that already serve that they will be taken care of (no one will sign up because there is a $250,000 death benefit)||encouraging a culture of death and murder; purchasing the deaths of Jews|
|How clean is the money?:||a grateful nation's elected, accountable leaders use tax money to help ease the hardship of families struck by combat fatalities||foreign dictators and oil potentates pay-with money stolen from their nation's people and treasuries- the most desperate among a people kept in a strange, vicious form of Eloidom to slaughter innocent Jews in order to appear as big men|
Aside from improving the outcome (for some) of a battlefield death, the payout would offer for economically disadvantaged families something resembling a lottery play. Admittedly, most recruits from such families would be likely to fail the entrance requirements for today's high-tech military, but for those families able to get a recruit into uniform, the prospect of coming into a quarter of a million all at once would arise where previously there had been no such prospect under any imaginable circumstances. Recruiters may expect increased flows, even if not of the very most desirable sort of candidates.
Yeah. For one thing, there's no problem with recruitment and his insinuation that the government is trying to up recruitment among the poor by bribing them is incredibly vicious and stupid. For another, the supreme insult to the poor that they're "not desirable" to our meritocratic, egalitarian military and that most are "likely to fail the entrance requirements" smacks of leftist condescension and contempt for the poor cloaked in concern for them. It's completely disgusting. As for it offering some families a "lottery play", yeah. Ask any person, rich or poor, if he or she would rather have their husband, wife, son, daughter, father or mother dead and $250, 000, or if they'd rather have them alive. With the exception of that monster Michael Schiavo
of course. And, apparently, N. Joseph Potts, who I am very relieved not to be related to.
So, aside from quieting the survivors of our more valorous, or unluckier, fighters, do we want to provide greater rewards to those who are actually doing the work, while they are doing it? Many Americans do, even some of those who are troubled by increasing government spending for any purpose, let alone war.
But if Americans expressed this gratitude in the form of a simple pay raise, say in the amount of the premiums for $250,000 in life insurance for a person engaged in what certainly is a dangerous occupation, might that not benefit some of them a bit more, not to mention ascribing to them the wit to pursue their own best interests as they may see it themselves?
As usual a Libertarian wanders off into theory-land and ignores how actual human beings behave. Human beings are not rational actors. Human beings are not Libertarians. They never will be that perfect market being they're trying to turn us into, no matter how much they explain to us that it's more rational
. Libertarians are stuck examining the bark and can't see the forest; that humans are tribal creatures; that we're animals; that we're social animals. That we're not his perfect market beings. If George W Bush passed a law raising every soldier's pay by the amount of a monthly life-insurance premium of $250000, most soldiers would spend it on other things. That is their right, of course. But the nation at large won't tolerate it when the first stories of families left destitute by the death of their breadwinner in the service of the country start trickling out; we'll be exactly where we were before, with a new government death benefit for soldiers, except that we'll have also given them a hefty raise.
It would cost the government no more to give servicepeople the additional choices that a pay raise in the amount of the premium would give, and it could increase their own enjoyment of the here and now in any way they choose, including buying the insurance to protect their dependants.
But ten minutes' experience with the welfare/warfare state will yield the instant understanding that this is moving in the wrong direction, from the government's point of view. Despite the fact that most servicemen and –women who serve in combat zones are of the younger sort, relatively few of whom as yet even have spouses, much less children, the US Government wants to make sure that this expenditure of its hard-extracted tax revenues goes to placate the bereft who, after all, still vote even after their loved ones have lost their franchise along with their lives.
Oh, ok, they're using this for the purpose of buying votes from bereaved families. If your son dies in an unjust war, N Joseph Potts thinks you'll still vote for the government because they gave you $250,000.
No, men and women in (and near) the trenches will have to find some deserving person in their families, or elsewhere, to name as their SGLI (Servicemen's Group Life Insurance) beneficiaries. In the navy, particularly, it isn't unusual to find that the beneficiary is a present or former shipmate with whom the insured formed bonds of close friendship. In other cases, it's a high-school sweetheart who the serviceman at least hopes is waiting patiently at home to marry Johnny when he or she comes marching home again.
All this, of course, merely proves that those who risk their lives in the service of the leviathan state in fact command no more regard among the governing class than do the millions of other subjects who remain behind the lines producing ammunition, paying taxes and, of course, raising up still more children to render unto Caesar. The valiant also must be controlled from their cradles to their graves. And beyond.
Can you believe the contempt? "the leviathan state", "the governing class" (last time I checked that would be...us
), "the millions of subjects raising up still more children to render unto Caesar". Are insults and ill-thought-out comparisons the intellectual stock-in-trade of libertarianism now? Pity, there used to be real intellectual fire in the movement. Now it's a bunch of myopic pricks who can't see past their wallets and think America is, um, pick one: stupid, gullible, venal, sheeplike, subjects and not citizens...is this guy playing out of the Noam Chomsky playbook or something? This is indistinguishable from the fever swamps of Democratic Underground. Have Libertarians always
had so much contempt for average Americans? If they have, no wonder they can't get elected dog-catcher.
I used to say I was a small-l libertarian, being vaguely disgusted with the Libertarian party's policies. But with the Republican party becoming a party of revolutionary liberation and President Bush advocating transformational policies that change the game, not the score-especially the "ownership society" initiative-I'm giving up saying I'm a small-l libertarian. That's the way to gradually increase the liberty in a society without screwing up a complex system. Ask Libertarians what they'd do if they had all the power. "Day 1: I would privatize all the roads. Day 2: I would fire the whole federal government except for 10 guys. Day 3: I would boil the ocean." Meanwhile, faced with a President who should be a libertarian's wet dream, boldly promoting a liberty-expanding agenda at home and abroad in the service of making men and women freer, more self-sufficient and giving them back their human dignity, all people like N Joseph Potts can do is anklebite and sneer. N Joseph Potts really did me a favor with this, though if I was more perceptive I'd have leapt off the sinking ship of libertarianism years ago.
I'm coming out of the closet: I'm a Republican now.