I wonder if the “conservatives” who have spent Veterans Day “thanking our troops” past and present have considered the fact that basically every major war that the United States has ever fought has pushed the country noticeably leftward – often radically so – and towards what Murray Rothbard described as a “welfare-warfare state”. Let us consider:
The Revolutionary War took the country away from a genuinely conservative form of government – monarchy – and, having infused the young nation with the daft and ultimately disastrous ideals of the French Enlightenment, left it with a hideously badly-written constitution and a form of government guaranteed to eventually end up in ochlocracy, socialism, irreligion, and decadence.
The Mexican-American War, along with the Spanish-American War half a century later, gave America the first taste of empire that would lead it down the path to being the welfare-warfare state and global champion of secular socialist democracy that it is today.
The War Between the States put the final nail in the coffin of the decentralized, small-time farmers’ republic that the revolutionaries of 1776 envisioned, and ensured the victory of the forces of modernity, egalitarianism, and industrial scientism that were centered in the north.
World War I was the war that destroyed the west. William S. Lind was right when he said that in the summer of 1914, the Western Civilization put a gun to its head and pulled the trigger. The beautiful Victorian Age was destroyed, the era of enlightened kings came to an end in Europe, the stage was set for Lenin and eventually Hitler, and Europe was fatally and irrevocably destabilized. The hundred years since then have been nothing more than the long death throes of a once-magnificent civilization
World War II has sometimes been, rightly, called “The War to Save Stalin and Empower Chairman Mao”. Not only did it put Communism in power directly in something like half the world, but it also gave the forces of Communism in that half the time and opportunity to destabilize the other half.
The Cold War saved Western Europe from being forcibly taken over by godless Communism, so that they could vote a slightly rebranded version of it in of their own free will later.
The Korean War, mostly forgotten, was a halfhearted attempt to put right some of the horrors that America had itself caused by driving the Japanese from that part of Asia and leaving it instead to the tender mercies of men like Mao Tse-Tung and Kim Il-Sung. It mostly served to prove that we were nowhere near as serious about fighting against Communism as we had been about fighting for it a few years earlier.
The Vietnam War was really two wars – one a skirmish of little consequence in an obscure part of Asia, and the other a radical social revolution in the United States. The good guys lost both – badly.
The incredible events of 1989-1991 gave the world a chance to repent – a gift of grace that only Poland and Russia seem, slowly but surely, to be taking God up on. As for America, it had the chance to not only repent, but to withdraw from the empire business and work on fixing itself – morally, spiritually, politically, and economically. The First Gulf War demonstrated that it had no intention of doing that, but instead meant to establish a “New World Order”; a vaguely Trotskyesque state of permanent global revolution meant to establish secular socialist democracy worldwide, with the American empire at its head.
The 9/11 attack will be remembered by historians of the future as the moment that the “American Century” ended and the age of American decline began in ernest. The wars and the establishment of the ever-encroaching police state that followed the attacks, along with the capture of the mainstream right by the “neocons” (who are perhaps best described as the living embodiments of the welfare-warfare state) all of which were bad enough on their own, also led directly to the backlash that brought the country Barack Obama, gay “marriage”, and Obamacare.
For all of these outcomes, shall we “thank our veterans”?
The truth is that war is inherently destabilizing, and thus is always counterproductive for “conservatives”, as long as we define that term as people who want to “conserve” a political or societal system that has existed up to that point (this may not, therefore, apply to rightist revolutionaries). Peace is conservative, and to lose sight of that simply because the left briefly affected a passion against war when it was in their best interest to do so (note that the leftist antiwar movement basically vaporized the day that Barack Obama was elected) is to allow oneself to be defined by one’s enemies. It is to engage in counterproductive and ultimately self-destructive behavior out of habit instead of reason.
Peace is conservative, and the “conservative” passion for war and worship of the military, which is no more than a particular form of the worship of the state that they claim to oppose, is ultimately not just homicidal, but suicidal.