Archive for history
Introduction to Laurence M. Vance, War, Empire, and the Military: Essays on the Follies of War and U.S. Foreign Policy (Vance Publications, 2014), 528 pgs.
These essays, although organized under seven headings, have one underlying theme: opposition to the warfare state that robs us of our liberty, our money, and in some cases our life. Conservatives who decry the welfare state while supporting the warfare state are terribly inconsistent. The two are inseparable. Libertarians who are opposed to war on principle, but support the state’s bogus “war on terrorism,” even as they remain silent about the U.S. global empire, are likewise contradictory.
Most of these 127 essays were published on the premier anti‑state, anti‑war, pro-market website, LewRockwell.com, during the period from January 2, 2004, to June 1, 2013. The vast majority of them first appeared on and were written exclusively for that website. LewRockwell.com is the brainchild of Lew Rockwell, the founder and chairman of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Ala., and a leading opponent of the central state, its wars, and its socialism. Most of the rest of the essays were originally published by the Future of Freedom Foundation, whose founder and president is the equally courageous Jacob Hornberger. Read More→
Review of The Power of Habeas Corpus in America: From the King’s Prerogative to the War on Terror by Anthony Gregory. Cambridge University Press and the Independent Institute, 2013.
Anthony Gregory is a great friend of mine, and I am honored to have the opportunity to review briefly his splendid new book, Habeas Corpus in America.
A few comments about the book itself are in order before sojourning through the content. First, it is a beautiful volume. I suppose we can thank Cambridge University Press for that. The cover itself contains the text of Abraham Lincoln’s order to suspend habeas during the Civil War – a very nice visual touch. The forward is written by the erudite constitutional scholar Kevin Gutzman. The book is written in three parts: history of habeas corpus, application of habeas corpus after 9/11, and a section titled “Custody and Liberty” exploring the future of habeas. Multiple appendices then analyze various habeas cases, and the customary selected bibliography and historical term explanations follow. It is long, thorough, sweeping, and powerful – but also pretty expensive. I suppose we can thank Cambridge University Press for that as well.
Habeas corpus is generally understood as the legal right not to be detained arbitrarily by the government. It is considered a foundational principle of Western legal systems, even of natural law itself. Still, habeas corpus is widely misunderstood, especially on a historical level. Anthony Gregory’s work on the history of habeas corpus and its application in America levels a damning charge against the American federal government and challenges the reader to reconsider the common assumption that the federal government protects liberty by showing how and why they abridge this fundamental right. Read More→
Review of Lizzie Collingham, The Taste of War: World War II and the Battle for Food (The Penguin Press, 2012), xxii + 634 pgs..
I was intrigued by this statement inside the book’s dust jacket: “Focusing on both the winners and losers in the battle for food, The Taste of War brings to light the striking fact that war-related hunger and famine were not only caused by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, but were also the result of Allied mismanagement and neglect, particularly in India, Africa, and China.”
Hunger and famine as a result of Allied polices? World War II is always presented as an epic struggle of good (Allies) vs. evil (Axis). After all, it is known as the good war. How, then, could the Allies let something like that happen? It turns out that during World War II over 20 million people died from starvation or malnutrition and its associated diseases. This rivals the number of military deaths. I guess the good war wasn’t so good after all. Read More→
Sunday, December 1, was the anniversary of the day in 1955 when civil rights icon Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. The Republican National Committee (RNC) posted a message and sent out an email celebrating Parks’ legacy. The message mentioned remembering and honoring Parks “for the role she played in fighting racism and ending segregation.”
But the RNC also sent out a tweet saying: “Today we remember Rosa Parks’ bold stand and her role in ending racism.”
This brought forth howls of protest from Democrats, who never cease to remind us that racism is far from over.
So, a few hours after the original tweet, the RNC issued a clarification: “Previous tweet should have read ‘Today we remember Rosa Parks’ bold stand and her role in fighting to end racism.’”
“The most just of wars brings with it a train of evils—if indeed any war can really be called just.” ~ Erasmus
In the first of my articles on Erasmus (“Erasmus on the Evils of War”), I wrote a brief introduction to Erasmus and his works on war and peace that should be read to better understand what Erasmus has to say here about the just war.
The concept of just war theory has been resurrected with abandon since Bush invaded Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11. It has even been used to justify those wars. The views of Erasmus on the just war are much more restrictive and much less liable to abuse. Even a war waged ostensibly to protect the innocent is unjust because it is the innocent that most heavily suffer the scourge of war. Read More→