In recent years it has been suggested that the Second Amendment protects the collective right of states to maintain militias, while it does not protect the right of the people to keep and bear arms. . . The phrase the people meant the same thing in the Second Amendment as it did in the First, Fourth, Ninth and Tenth Amendments--that is, each and every free person. A select militia defined as only the privileged class entitled to keep and bear arms was considered an anathema to a free society, in the same way that Americans denounced select spokesmen approved by the government as the only class entitled to the freedom of the press. If anyone entertained this notion in the period during which the Constitution and Bill of Rights were debated and ratified, it remains one of the most closely guarded secrets of the 18th century, for no known writing surviving from the period between 1787 and 1791 states such a thesis.
Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped.
A national debt, if it is not excessive, will be to us a national blessing.
It is inherent in the nature of sovereignty not to be amenable to the suit of any individual without its consent. This is the general sense and the general practice of mankind; and the exemption, as one of the attributes of sovereignty, is now enjoyed by the government of every State in the Union. . . . The contracts between a nation and individuals are only binding on the conscience of the sovereign, and have no pretensions to a compulsory force. They confer no right of action, independent of the sovereign will. To . . . authorize suits against States for the debts they owe . . . could not be done without waging war against the contracting State . . . , a power which would involve such a consequence, would be altogether forced and unwarranted.
Power over a mans substance is power over his will.
Safety from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct. Even the ardent love of liberty will after a time, give way to its dictates. The violent destruction of life and property incident to war, the continual effort and alarm attendant on a state of continual danger, will compel nations the most attached to liberty to resort for repose and security to institutions which have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights. To be more safe, they at length become willing to run the risk of being less free. [from No. 8, The Federalist]
It is of the nature of war to increase the executive at the expense of the legislative authority. [from No. 8, The Federalist]
The pursuit of peace and progress cannot end in a few years in either victory or defeat. The pursuit of peace and progress, with its trials and its errors, its successes and its setbacks, can never be relaxed and never abandoned.
Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it.
When I hear so much impatient and irritable complaint, so much readiness to replace what we have by guardians for us all, those supermen, evoked somewhere from the clouds, whom none have seen and none are ready to name, I lapse into a dream. . . . I see children playing on the grass . . . they are restive and quarrelsome; they cannot agree to any common plan; their play annoys them; it goes poorly. And one says, let us make Jack the master; Jack knows all about it; Jack will tell us what each is to do and we shall all agree. But Jack is like all the rest; Helen is discontented with her part and Henry with his, and soon they fall again into their old state. No, the children must learn to play by themselves; there is no Jack the master. And in the end slowly and with infinite disappointment they do learn a little; they learn to forbear, to reckon with anther, accept a little where they wanted much, to live and let live, to yield when they must yield; perhaps, we may hope, not to take all they can. But the condition is that they shall be willing at least to listen to one another, to get the habit of pooling their wishes. Somehow or other they must do this, if the play is to go on; maybe it will not, but there is no Jack, in or out of the box, who can come to straighten the game.
I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts. These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it. And what is this liberty which must lie in the hearts of men and women? It is not the ruthless, the unbridled will; it is not freedom to do as one likes. That is the denial of liberty, and leads straight to its overthrow. A society in which men recognize no check upon their freedom soon becomes a society where freedom is the possession of only a savage few; as we have learned to our sorrow.
Anyone may so arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible. He is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes.
The Man He Killed
Had he and I but met
Russia is supposed to be the enemy. Why? We are told that it is because Russia is communistic. . . . But if it is necessary for us to embrace extensive socialist or communist measures in order to fight a nation which has adopted them . . . why fight them? . . . There is no sense in our conjuring up in our minds a violent hatred against people who are the victims of communism in some foreign nation, when the same governmental shackles are making us servile to the illiberal forces at home. [from In Search of Peace, in Writings of F. A. Harper, pp. 35-37]
In Bomber Command we have always worke on the assumption that bombing anything in Germany is better than bombing nothing.
I would not regard the whole of the remaining cities of Germany as worth the bones of one British grenadier.
The aim of the combined Bomber Offensive . . . should be unambiguously stated [as] the destruction of German cities, the killing of German workers, and the disruption of civilized life throughout Germany.
Let me tell you how it will be. Theres one for you, nineteen for me. Cause Im the taxman.
Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics. It pretends not to possess an omnipotent and unprincipled police apparatus. It pretends to respect human rights. It pretends to prosecute no one. It pretends to fear nothing. It pretends to pretend nothing.
A Government, indeed, faced with a great war, cannot afford to let half the business of the country slip into bankruptcy, and . . . the embarrassed traders are propped up, either by lavish advances granted them by arrangement, or by a special statutory moratorium.
What our generation has forgotten is that the system of private property is the most important guarantee of freedom, not only for those who own property, but scarcely less for those who do not. It is only because the control of the means of production is divided among many people acting independently that nobody has complete power over us, that we as individuals can decide what to do with ourselves. If all it be nominally that of society as a whole of that of a dictator, whoever exercises this control has complete power over us.
Once you admit that the individual is merely a means to serve the ends of a higher entity called society or the nation, most of those features of totalitarian regimes which horrify us follow of necessity. From the collectivist standpoint, intolerance and brutal suppression of dissent, the complete disregard of the life and happiness of the individual, are essential and unavoidable consequences of this basic premise; and the collectivist can admit this and at the same time claim that his system is superior to one in which the selfish interests of the individual are allowed to obstruct the full realization of the ends the community pursues.
The principle that the end justifies the means is individualist ethics regarded as the denial of all morals. In collectivist ethics it becomes necessarily the supreme rule; there is literally nothing which the consistent collectivist must not be prepared to do if it serves the good of the whole, because the good of the whole is to him the only criterion of what ought to be done.
The threat of the speedy loss of their whole business if they failed to meet expectations (and how any government organization would be certain to abuse the opportunity to play with raw material prices!) would provide a much stronger safeguard than any that could be devised against a government monopoly.
It is of the essence of the demand for equality before the law that people should be treated alike in spite of the fact that they are different.
The private sector of the economy is, in fact, the voluntary sector; and . . . the public sector is, in fact, the coercive sector.
The mounting burden of taxation not only undermines individual incentives to increased work and earnings, but in a score of ways discourages capital accumulation and distorts, unbalances, and shrinks production. Total real wealth and income is made smaller than it would otherwise be. On net balance there is more poverty rather than less.
The times call for courage. The times call for hard work. But if the demands are high, it is because the stakes are even higher. They are nothing less than the future of human liberty, which means the future of civilization.
The history of the world is none other than the progress of the consciousness of freedom.
Whenever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings.
The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.
The police of a state should never be stronger or better armed than the citizenry. An armed citizenry, willing to fight, is the foundation of civil freedom.
The price of freedom is the willingness to do sudden battle, anywhere, anytime, and with utter recklessness.
TANSTAAFL--There aint no such thing as a free lunch. [from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress]
Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.
There were many words that you could not stand to hear and finally only the names of places had dignity. Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene.
Are we at last brought to such a humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in our own possession and under our own direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?
Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined. . . The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun.
Do you not see, first, that as a mental abstract physical force is directly opposed to morality; and secondly, that it practically drives out of existence the moral forces? How can an act done under compulsion have any moral element in it, seeing that what is moral is the free act of an intelligent being? If you tie a mans hands there is nothing moral about his not committing murder. Such an abstaining from murder is a mechanical act; and just the same in kind, though less in degree, are all the acts which men are compelled to do under penalties imposed upon them by their fellow men. Those who would drive their fellow men into the performance of any good actions do not see that the very elements of morality the free act following on the free choice are as much absent in those upon whom they practice their legislation as a flock of sheep penned in by hurdles. [See The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State and Other Essays, by Auberon Herbert]
And what sort of philosophical doctrine is thi--that numbers confer unlimited rights, that they take from some persons all rights over themselves, and vest these rights in others. . . . How, then, can the rights of three men exceed the rights of two men? In what possible way can the rights of three men absorb the rights of two men, and make them as if they had never existed. . . . It is not possible to suppose, without absurdity, than a man should have no rights over his own body and mind, and yet have a 1/10,000,000th share in unlimited rights over all other bodies and minds? [See The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State and Other Essays, by Auberon Herbert]
If government half a century ago had provided us with all our dinners and breakfasts, it would be the practice of our orators today to assume the impossibility of our providing for ourselves. [See The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State and Other Essays, by Auberon Herbert]
. . . every tax or rate, forcibly taken from an unwilling person, is immoral and oppressive. [See The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State and Other Essays, by Auberon Herbert]
The career of a politician mainly consists in making one part of the nation do what it does not want to do, in order to please and satisfy the other part of the nation. It is the prolonged sacrifice of the rights of some persons at the bidding and for the satisfaction of other persons. The ruling idea of the politician - stated rather bluntly - is that those who are opposed to him exist for the purpose of being made to serve his ends, if he can get power enough in his hands to force these ends upon them. [See The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State and Other Essays, by Auberon Herbert]
War makes thieves and peace hangs them.
In peace, sons bury their fathers; in war, fathers bury their sons.
Force has no place where there is need of skill.
The liberty of the individual is the greatest thing of all, it is on this and this alone that the true will of the people can develop.
Robert Higgs (1944-)
Warfare is the quintessential government activity.
The destruction of the World Trade Center--not to speak of the damage to the Pentagon itself--will remain forever an indictment of the failure of U.S. defense-and-intelligence policy and practice. The most curious upshot of this terrible failure is that the President and Congress have not seen fit to punish those responsible for the failure--no heads have rolled; hell, nobody has even had his wrists slapped. Instead, the failed defense-and-intelligence establishment is now being rewarded with the greatest infusion of new taxpayer money it has absorbed in a generation.
When American presidents prepare for foreign wars, they lie. Surveying our history, we see a clear pattern. Since the end of the nineteenth century, if not earlier, presidents have misled the public about their motives and their intentions in going to war. The enormous losses of life, property, and liberty that Americans have sustained in wars have occurred in large part because of the public's unwarranted trust in what their leaders told them before leading them into war.
From a historical standpoint war is instrumental in expanding government in every dimension. Particularly during the world wars, the transformation of a mainly market economy into a mainly command economy taught people to use government to achieve their personal ends, and eroded resistance to bureaucratization by making Americans less willing to protest. Not only does the war machine not return to its previous level, every other aspect of government is fostered as well. During World War II, bureaucracies that had little to do with the war--the Department of Interior or Agriculture, for example--claimed they were essential for the war effort so their budgets and activities should be increased. Once the war was over, they retained their newly acquired functions. The most important consequence of war is the ideological shift. A successful war brings new stature to the government.
Government policies as a rule simply are not what they pretend to be. Little surprise then if the foreign-aid program does not help many foreigners, government schools do not educate students very well, government welfare does not elevate the lumpenproletariat, and so on. The ostensible objectives are mere political costumes, thinly cloaking the actual operations of the programs.
The Defense Department is either unable or unwilling to deal seriously with its decades-long engagement in massive waste, fraud, and mismanagement, especially (but not exclusively) in its relations with the big defense contracting companies.
The great danger is that in an age of permanent emergency--the age we live in, the age we are likely to go on living in--the Crisis Constitution will simply swallow up the Normal Constitution, depriving us at all times of the very rights the original Constitution was created to protect at all times. The outlook can only dishearten those who believe that the fundamental purpose of the Constitution is to protect individuals rights to life, liberty, and property. . . . Ultimately the Normal Constitution can be preserved against the inroads of the Crisis Constitution only if the politically influential elites who make policies and mold the opinions of the majority are willing to resist the passions of national emergency. If such understanding, and a concomitant commitment to individual rights, were widespread, we would have little to fear. As Abraham Lincoln said, With public sentiment nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed. If the dominant ideology gives strong support to the Normal Constitution, it will survive, no matter what else happens. But if the dominant ideology does not give strong support to the Normal Constitution, it will eventually be overwhelmed by the Crisis Constitution. Step by step, a ratcheting loss of rights will attend each episode of national emergency. And we may as well admit that such emergencies are inevitable. Unfortunately, citizens in the United States today, with only a few notable exceptions, have neither an appreciation of this ratchet process nor a strong commitment to individual rights to life, liberty, and property. Therefore, the most likely prospect is for further expansion of the Crisis Constitution and a corresponding loss of the liberty our Founding Fathers sought to secure for us.
Military Keynesianism was always an intellectually bankrupt theory. As I have shown above, it was not proven by the events of the war years; all that those events proved was that a command economy can, at least for a while, keep everyone busy building munitions and using them to demolish the nations enemies. But the munitions production was far from free. It entailed huge opportunity costs, even though part of it could be accomplished simply by employing workers and capital that had been idle before the war. During the Cold War, however, the nation had very few unemployed resources to call into defense production, and using lots of resources for this purpose meant that the civilian goods that those resources might otherwise have produced had to be sacrificed. Keynesian economics rests on the presumption that government spending, whether for munitions or other goods, creates an addition to the economys aggregate demand, which brings into employment labor and other resources that otherwise would remain idle. The economy gets not only the additional production occasioned by the use of those resources but still more output via a multiplier effect. Hence the Keynesian claim that even government spending to hire people to dig holes in the ground and fill them up again has beneficial effects; even though the diggers create nothing of value, the multiplier effect is set in motion as they spend their newly acquired income for consumption goods newly produced by others.
The argument that without a substantial military buildup the United States will soon find itself unable to defend its vital national interests simply cannot withstand scrutiny. Now that the USSR has fallen apart politically, economically, and militarily, no great threat looms. Yes, of course, serious new threats may arise--lately the scaremongers have served up China as the bugbear du jour--and wise management of the defense establishment dictates that efforts be made to anticipate such threats and to prepare to meet them. Yes, the world remains a dangerous place, as the conservatives never tire of reiterating, but which of the existing dangers constitutes a serious threat to the vital national interests of the United States? Unless one defines those interests in an absurdly expansive, globally imperious manner, it seems clear that the United States is now well prepared to deal with all genuine present and prospective military threats. Of course, the United States lacks the power to resolve every dispute among the worlds warring ethnic groups, to rescue every unfortunate victim of human or natural disaster, to set every primitive nation on a smooth road to modern democratic capitalism. But no such power could be achieved in any event, and we would be foolish to gauge the adequacy of the U.S. defense establishment by such grotesquely bloated standards. To protect U.S. citizens and their property within their national territory from external aggression, the present forces are more than sufficient. One suspects that, down deep, nearly all those who advocate increased military spending understand that reality. Perhaps, nonetheless, they have other reasons to favor a big military buildup.
Clearly, the management of the military establishment reflects not the outcome of a search for the optimal provision of national security, subject to an overall budget constraint. Rather, it reflects the outcome of a bureaucratic rivalry in which each competing organization strives to maintain--and succeeds in maintaining--its organizational integrity and its share of the loot regardless of whether an organizational redesign or a substantial redistribution of resources would enhance national security.
The powerful role played by the MICC [military-industrial-congressional complex] in the second half of the twentieth century testifies to a fact that has seldom been faced squarely: World War II did not end in a victory for the forces of freedom; to an equal or greater extent, the defeat of Nazi Germany and its allies represented a victory for the forces of totalitarian oppression in the Soviet Union and, later, its surrogates around the world. Hence, in 1945, we merely traded one set of aggressive enemies for another. In reality, the war did not end until the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the degeneration of its armed forces in the early 1990s. In America, the long war--from 1940 to 1990--solidified the MICC as an integral part of the political economy. . . . In retrospect, we can see clearly that World War II spawned the MICC and that the wars long continuation as the Cold War created the conditions in which the MICC could survive and prosper. Americas economy sacrificed much of its potential dynamism as the massive commitment of resources to military R&D diverted them from the civilian opportunities being pursued with great success in Japan, Germany, and elsewhere. For the period 1948-1989, national defense spending consumed, on average, 7.5 percent of American GNP. The costs to liberty were also great, as national defense authorities, using the FBI, CIA, and other agencies, violated peoples constitutional rights on a wide scale.
There was a time, long ago, when the average American could go about his daily busines hardly aware of the government--especially the federal government. As a farmer, merchant, or manufacturer, he could decide what, how, when, and where to produce and sell his goods, constrained by little more than market forces. Just think: no farm subsidies, price supports, or acreage controls; no Federal Trade Commission; no antitrusr laws; no Interstate Commerce Commission. As an employer, employee, consumer, investor, lender, borrower, student, or teacher, he could proceed largely according to his own lights. Just think: no National Labor Relations Board; no federal consumer protection laws; no Security and Exchange Commsission; no Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; no Department of Health and Human Services. Lacking a central bank to issue national paper currency, people commonly used gold coins to make purchases. There were no general sales taxes, no Social Security taxes, no income taxes. Though governmental officials were as corrupt then as now--maybe more so--they had vastly less to be corrupt with. Private citizens spent about fifteen times more than all governments combined.
When U.S. forces employ aerial and artillery bombardment with huge high-explosive bombs, large rockets, and shells, including cluster munitions, as their principal technique of waging war, especially in densely inhabited areas, they know with absolute certainly that many innocent persons will be killed. To proceed with such bombardment, therefore, is to choose to inflict those deaths. If you or I settled our scores in our neighborhoods in such a fashion, neither moral authorities nor the legal system would countenance our slaughter of innocent bystanders as excusable. Nobody can gain moral absolution merely by re-labeling his killing spree a war: its not a morally valid way out for you and me, and its not a morally valid way out for George Bush, either. [June 13, 2003]
For some people, the concession that the old Iraqi regime ought to have been removed is sufficient to justify everything done under the rubric of making war. But uttering the incantation war does nothing to remove ones actions from applicable moral strictures. Whatever is wrong in peace is wrong in war. This maxim in no way constitutes a refusal to see that in wars hard choices must be made. Hard choices always must be made. Human beings have developed moral codes precisely because they need guidance in making such choices. When governments go to war, they want their subjects to set aside everything they have believed about morality and to substitute a slavish acceptance of whatever the government pronounces necessary in order to win the war. I have been appalled to see how many libertarians, of all people, have fallen for this government manipulation during the past year and a half. Better than others, libertarians ought to appreciate that war has been the health of the state, including the U.S. state, and that all such wars constitute, directly and indirectly in countless ways, further steps toward our own continuing enslavement.
Ill concede that having a permanent war might seem an odd thing to want, but lets put aside the why question for the time being, accepting that you wouldnt want it unless you stood to gain something important from it. If, however, for reasons you found adequate, you did want to have a permanent war, what would you need in order to make such a policy viable in a democratic society such as the United States? First, you would need that society to have a dominant ideology--a widely shared belief system about social and political relations--within which having a permanent war seems to be a desirable policy, given the ideologys own content and the pertinent facts accepted by its adherents. Something like American jingo-patriotism cum anti-communism might turn the trick. It worked pretty well during the nearly half century of the Cold War. . . . Second, you would need periodic crises, because without them the public becomes complaisant, unafraid, and hence unwilling to bear the heavy burdens that they must bear if the government is to carry on a permanent war. As Senator Arthur Vandenberg told Harry Truman in 1947 at the outset of the Cold War, gaining public support for a perpetual global campaign requires that the government scare hell out of the American people. . . . Third, you would need some politically powerful groups whose members stand to gain substantially from a permanent war in terms of achieving their urgent personal and group objectives. Call me crass, but Ive noticed that few people will stay engaged for long unless theres something in it for them. During the Cold War, the conglomeration of personally interested parties consisted of those who form the military-industrial-congressional complex (MICC). The generals and admirals thrived by commanding a large armed force sustained by a lavish budget. The big defense contractors enjoyed ample returns at minimal risk (because they could expect that should they screw up too royally, a bailout would be forthcoming). Members of Congress who belonged to the military oversight and appropriations committees could parlay their positions into campaign contributions and various sorts of income in kind. Presiding over the entire complex, of course, the president, his National Security Council, and their many subordinates, advisers, consultants, and hangers-on enjoyed the political advantages associated with control of a great nations diplomatic and military affairs--not to speak of the sheer joy that certain people get from wielding or influencing great power. . . . If the ideology of anti-communism can no longer serve to justify a permanent war, let us put in its place the overarching rationale of a war on terrorism. In fact, this substitution of what President George W. Bush repeatedly calls a new kind of war amounts to an improvement for the leading actors, because whereas the Cold War could not be sustained once the USSR had imploded and international communism had toppled into the dust bin of history, a war on terrorism, with all its associated benefits, can go on forever. . . . So there you have it: the war on terrorism--the new permanent war--is a winner. The president loves it. The military brass loves it. The bigwigs at Boeing and Lockheed love it. Members of Congress love it. The public loves it. . . . Except, perhaps, that odd citizen who wonders whether, all things considered, having a permanent war is truly a good idea for the beleaguered U.S. economy and for the liberties of the American people.
The People versus the Interests, the general welfare versus factional privileges--out of that conflict comes much of the sound and fury of American politics, or of any politics organized as representative democracy. The problem arises because what is in the interest of some people may not be in, or may even be adverse to, the interest of others; yet in many cases, government can establish only a single condition, which all parties must live with, for better or worse.
National emergencies create conditions in which governmental officials and private-interest groups have more to gain by striking political bargains with one another. Government gains the resources, expertise, and cooperation of the private parties, which are usually essential for the success of governmental crisis policies. Private-interest groups gain the application of governmental authority to enforce compliance with their cartel rules, which is essential to preclude the free riding that normally jeopardizes the success of every arrangement for the provision of collective goods. Crisis promotes extended politicization of economic life, and extended politicization encourages additional political organization and bargaining.
The sprawling, voracious, military-industrial complex has constituted anything but free enterprise from its very inception during World War II. In this vast cesspool of mismanagement, waste, and transgressions not only bordering on but often entering deeply into criminal conduct, no consumer-determined bottom line has dictated which firms would survive and which would go bankrupt. Instead, recurrent government bailouts have been the order of the day. The great arms firms have managed to slough off much of the normal risk of doing business in a genuine market, passing on many of their excessive costs to the taxpayers while still realizing extraordinary rates of return on investment. Meanwhile, high taxes to support the military-industrial complex have punished all those striving to operate businesses in the actual free market. Nor has this economic mess been the worst aspect of the operation of the military contracting business. Far more malign has been the role these semi-socialized firms have played as powerful insiders in the making of strategic and foreign policy, constantly exerting strong direct and indirect pressures to maintain America's imperial posture in the world, to keep up the quick pace of the arms race, and to increase the already enormous bulk of the defense budget. Working for peace, not to speak of free enterprise, has never been their profession, as anyone attending their trade-association conferences or reading their advertisements in defense-industry magazines can easily attest.
With U.S. entry into the Great War, the federal government expanded enormously in size, scope, and power. It virtually nationalized the ocean shipping industry. It did nationalize the railroad, telephone, domestic telegraph, and international telegraphic cable industries. It became deeply engaged in manipulating labor-management relations, securities sales, agricultural production and marketing, the distribution of coal and oil, international commerce, and markets for raw materials and manufactured products. Its Liberty Bond drives dominated the financial capital markets. It turned the newly created Federal Reserve System into a powerful engine of monetary inflation to help satisfy the governments voracious appetite for money and credit. In view of the more than 5,000 mobilization agencies of various sorts--boards, committees, corporations, administrations--contemporaries who described the 1918 government as war socialism were well justified. During the war the government built up the armed forces to a strength of four million officers and men, drawn from a prewar labor force of 40 million persons. Of those added to the armed forces after the U.S. declaration of war, more than 2.8 million, or 72 percent, were drafted. Men alone, however, did not make an army. They required barracks and training facilities, transportation, food, clothing, and health care. They had to be equipped with modern arms and great stocks of ammunition. To ensure that the conscription-based mobilization could proceed without obstruction, critics had to be silenced. The Espionage Act of June 15, 1917, penalized those convicted of willfully obstructing the enlistment services by fines up to $10,000 and imprisonment as long as 20 years. An amendment, the Sedition Act of May 16, 1918, went much further, imposing the same severe criminal penalties on all forms of expression in any way critical of the government, its symbols, or its mobilization of resources for the war. Those suppressions of free speech, subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court, established dangerous precedents that derogated from the rights previously enjoyed by citizens under the First Amendment. The government further subverted the Bill of Rights by censoring all printed materials, peremptorily deporting hundreds of aliens without due process of law, and conducting--and encouraging state and local governments and vigilante groups to conduct--warrantless searches and seizures, blanket arrests of suspected draft evaders, and other outrages too numerous to catalog here. In California the police arrested Upton Sinclair for reading the Bill of Rights at a rally. In New Jersey the police arrested Roger Baldwin for publicly reading the Constitution.
When World War II began in Europe in 1939, the size and scope of the federal government were much greater than they had been 25 years earlier, owing mainly to World War I and its peacetime progeny, the New Deal. Federal spending now equaled 10 percent of GNP. Of a labor force of 56 million, the federal government employed about 1.3 million persons (2.2 percent) in regular civilian and military jobs and another 3.3 million (5.9 percent) in emergency work-relief programs. The national debt held outside the government had grown to nearly $40 billion. Most important, the scope of federal regulation had increased immensely to embrace agricultural production and marketing, labor-management relations, wages, hours, and working conditions, securities markets and investment institutions, petroleum and coal marketing, trucking, radio broadcasting, airline operation, provision for income during retirement and unemployment, and many other objects. Notwithstanding those prodigious developments, during the next six years the federal government would assume vastly greater dimensions--in some respects its greatest size, scope, and power ever. During the war the conscript-based armed force, which ultimately comprised more than 12 million men and women, required enormous amounts of complementary resources for its housing, subsistence, clothing, medical care, training, and transportation, not to mention the special equipment, arms, ammunition, and expensive weapons platforms that now included tanks, fighter and bomber aircraft, and naval aircraft carriers. For the Treasury, World War II was 10 times more expensive than World War I. Many new taxes were levied. Income taxes were raised repeatedly, until the personal income-tax rates extended from a low of 23 percent to a high of 94 percent. The income tax, previously a class tax, became a mass tax, as the number of returns grew from 15 million in 1940 to 50 million in 1945. . . . The authorities resorted to a vast system of controls and market interventions to get resources without having to bid them away from competing buyers in free markets. By fixing prices, directly allocating physical and human resources, establishing official priorities, prohibitions, and set-asides, then rationing the civilian consumer goods in short supply, the war planners steered raw materials, intermediate goods, and finished products into the uses they valued most. . . . World War II witnessed massive violations of human rights in the United States, apart from the involuntary servitude of the military conscripts. Most egregiously, about 112,000 blameless persons of Japanese ancestry, most of them U.S. citizens, were uprooted from their homes and confined in concentration camps without due process of law. Those subsequently released as civilians during the war remained under parole-like surveillance. The government also imprisoned nearly 6,000 conscientious objectors--three-fourths of them Jehovahs Witnesses--who would not comply with the service requirements of the draft laws.11 Signaling the enlarged federal capacity for repression, the number of FBI special agents increased from 785 in 1939 to 4,370 in 1945. Scores of newspapers were denied the privilege of the mails under the authority of the 1917 Espionage Act, which remained in effect. Some newspapers were banned altogether. The Office of Censorship restricted the content of press reports and radio broadcasts and censored personal mail entering or leaving the country. The Office of War Information put the governments spin on whatever it deigned to tell the public, and the military authorities censored news from the battlefields, sometimes for merely political reasons. The government seized more than 60 industrial facilities--sometimes entire industries (for example, railroads, bituminous coal mines, meatpacking firms)--most of them in order to impose employment conditions favorable to labor unions engaged in disputes with the management. At the end of the war most of the economic control agencies shut down. But some powers persisted, either lodged at the local level, like New York Citys rent controls, or shifted from emergency agencies to regular departments, like the international trade controls moved from the Foreign Economic Administration to the State Department. Federal tax revenues remained high by prewar standards. In the late 1940s the IRSs annual take averaged four times greater in constant dollars than in the late 1930s. In 1949, federal outlays amounted to 15 percent of GNP, up from 10 percent in 1939. The national debt stood at what would have been an unthinkable figure before the war, $214 billion--in constant dollars, roughly a hundred times the national debt in 1916.
The end of World War II blended into the beginning of the Cold War. In 1948 the government reimposed the military draft, and over the next 25 years conscription was extended time and again. After 1950 the military-industrial-congressional complex achieved renewed vigor, sapping 7.7 percent of GNP on average during the next four decades--cumulatively some $11 trillion dollars of 1999 purchasing power. During the Cold War the governments operatives committed crimes against the American people too numerous to catalog here, ranging from surveillance of millions of innocuous citizens and mass arrests of political protesters to harassment and even murder of persons considered especially threatening. Cest la guerre. The governments reprehensible actions, which many citizens viewed only as abuses, we can apprehend more plausibly as intrinsic to its constant preparation for and episodic engagement in warfare.
What nobody seems to notice is that while Enron, WorldCom, and the other corporate bad boys are getting their comeuppance in the stock market and sink into bankruptcy, the biggest accounting scofflaw of all continues merrily along its irresponsible way. I refer to none other than the organization with which both Bush and Daschle are connected, the federal government. Whereas Enron and WorldCom have misbehaved with billions of dollars in bad accounts, the federal government has misbehaved--and continues to misbehave, contrary to a number of federal statutes--with trillions of dollars in bad accounts. Although by no means the only guilty agency, the Department of Defense is by far the worst offender. Since 1994, federal law has required government departments to make financial audits. Seems reasonable, given the trillions of dollars of taxpayer money that pass through the bureaucrats hands each year. The Defense Department, however, has never been able to comply with the auditing requirement, because its records are such a mess that they cannot even be audited.
Why would the people who appropriate educational funds and operate the schools tolerate a failing system for decades? In fact, the system has been a great success. Not for the students and parents, of course, but for the real beneficiaries: the teachers, support staff, administrators, and politicians. . . . For them, the tax-funded school system works nearly to perfection, as attested by the rise of public school spending per pupil (adjusted for inflation) from $2,035 in 1960 to $5,247 in 1990. In turn, public-school employees reward friendly politicians with campaign contributions, votes, and get-out-the-vote work. The welfare system is another national disgrace. For decades, commentators of various political persuasions have recognized that our tax-funded welfare system promotes dependency, family dissolution, juvenile delinquency, and other pathologies. Since 1965, an increase of more than five fold (adjusted for inflation) in anti-poverty spending only subsidized the growth of a wretched underclass. It would take little more than $50 billion to raise every poor person above the official poverty line, yet the percentage of the population classified as poor hardly budges, while annual welfare spending amounts to four times that much. Wheres the money going? You guessed it. The money goes to the planners, researchers, social workers, public health doctors, nurses, and technicians, public housing managers, community organizers, administrators, and assorted apparatchiki. Like the public school teachers, these people have strong political connections, vote in every election for candidates who support more welfare spending, and never fail to accuse would-be budget cutters of harming children.
Our own line in the north was built without any government aid, even the right of way, through hundreds of miles of public lands, being paid for in cash.
The government should not furnish capital to these companies [railroads], in addition to their enormous land subsidies, to enable them to conduct their business in competition with enterprises that have received no aid from the public treasury. 
War grows out of the desire of the individual to gain advantage at the expense of his fellow man.
Germans who wish to use firearms should join the SS or the SA--ordinary citizens dont need guns, as their having guns doesnt serve the State.
The great masses of the people at the very bottom of their hearts tend to be corrupted rather than consciously evil . . . they more easily fall a victim to a big lie than to a little one, since they themselves lie in little things, but would be ashamed of lies that were too big.
The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed the subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty.
The Big Lie is a major untruth uttered frequently by leaders as a means of duping and controlling the constituency. [from Mein Kampf]
The one means that wins the easiest victory over reason: terror and force. 
Force and fraud are in war the two cardinal virtues.
Unnecessary laws are not good laws, but traps for money. [from Leviathan]
In the course of the century, the burden of war shifted increasingly from armed forces to civilians, who were not only its victims, but increasingly the object of military or military-political operations. The contrast between the first world war and the second is dramatic: only 5% of those who died in the first were civilians; in the second, the figure increased to 66%. It is generally supposed that 80 to 90% of those affected by war today are civilians. The proportion has increased since the end of the cold war because most military operations since then have been conducted not by conscript armies, but by small bodies of regular or irregular troops, in many cases operating high-technology weapons and protected against the risk of incurring casualties. There is no reason to doubt that the main victims of war will continue to be civilians.
Freedom means freedom from forces and circumstances which would turn man into a thing, which would impose on man the passivity and predictability of matter. By this test, absolute power is the manifestation most inimical to human uniqueness. Absolute power wants to turn people into malleable clay.
If you want a Big Brother, youll get all that comes with it.
Older men declare war. But it is the youth that must fight and die.
Justice is incidental to law and order.
I dont mind what Congress does, as long as they dont do it in the streets and frighten the horses.
A day will come when a cannon will be exhibited in museums, just as instruments of torture are now, and the people will be astonished that such a thing could have been.
From the social point of view, the educational systems are oriented to maintaining the existing social and economic structures instead of transforming them.
It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once.
Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms. This is not to say that firearms should not be carefully used and that definite safety rules of precaution should not be taught and enforced. But the right of the citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government and one more safeguard against a tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible.
I have heard . . . that people may become dependent on us for food. I know that was not supposed to be good news. To me, that was good news, because before people can do anything they have got to eat. And if you are looking for a way to get people to lean on you and to be dependent on you, in terms of their cooperation with you, it seems to me that food dependence would be terrific.
To the extent that the United States was governed by anyone during the decades after World War Il, it was governed by the President acting with the support and cooperation of key individuals and groups in the executive office, the federal bureaucracy, Congress, and the more important businesses, banks, law firms, foundations, and media, which constitute the private sectors Establishment.
The nature of the universe is such that ends can never justify the means. On the contrary, the means always determine the end.
What is absurd and monstrous about war is that men who have no personal quarrel should be trained to murder one another in cold blood.