War, Peace, and the Struggle for Liberty

I delivered the following remarks at the Future of Freedom conference on June 2, an event that included such luminaries as Judge Andrew J. Napolitano, Robert Scheer, and Daniel Ellsberg, as well as an entire constellation of libertarian stars.

What I meant to convey was some sense of where both the libertarian and the peace movements find themselves today. I drew up a balance sheet, totaling our strengths and weaknesses and recounting, in the process, the history of these movements since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I may have been a little harsh on ostensibly "libertarian" war supporters, but, in retrospect, this was eminently fair. After all, these guys got to sit around and pontificate while others were sent to fight, and the sheer enormity of the problem this gigantic miscalculation led to merits more than a slap on the wrist – especially in light of the accelerated campaign to rush us into a war with Iran. These people have to take at least part of the responsibility – the moral responsibility – for helping bamboozle the American people into accepting this profoundly tragic war as a necessary act.

My talk, however, wasn’t all about rebuking a few miscreants, but about what we, in the peace movement – and I include libertarians in that group – are up against. Now that the war hysteria has receded and the nation has learned a few foreign policy lessons, the War Party is regrouping and making moves to attack Iran and perhaps even Syria. They are weakened, though, and their desperation is beginning to show as cracks emerge in the dike of bipartisan interventionism. The polls, too, tell a far different story than what we are hearing from Washington: the people aren’t buying into this "we can’t leave" narrative being run by the leaders of both parties, and more than a few politicians are apt to bolt from the increasingly untenable bipartisan consensus on the alleged necessity of a continued American military presence in Iraq.

So, there’s hope – and that’s the message I tried to deliver.

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of Antiwar.com, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].