Are we utterly deranged? Wasn’t a large portion of America inexorably against war just a few years ago? Have we so completely forgotten everything in the past 10 years and the past 100 years that we’re willing to call for “regime change” in one of the largest and most bellicose nations in the world?
And yet a majority of the population is now busting out the Ukrainian flags when Joe Biden says that Russia’s Putin must go. What exactly do we think is going to happen now? Is anyone thinking?
Listen America, let me remind you of a few things: First, you don’t care at all about Ukraine. I’m willing to bet that most Americans couldn’t have picked it out on a blank map of Europe two months ago. I’ll even double the ante and bet that a majority of Americans still couldn’t pick it out on a blank map of Europe. And yet we’re willing to make this a holy casus belli?
Of course, my own instincts put me on the help-Ukraine bandwagon. After all, I have been telling literally anyone who would listen for the last 10 years (all two of them) that we were heading toward war with Russia. But my goal in warning about this was to find a way to avoid the war. If you’re one of those people who has put the Ukrainian flag on your Facebook profile pic (which probably means you also put the “I got vaccinated” frame on your profile pic) let me ask you this: Does it make you suspicious when our government and all of our media, including Fox News, unanimously tell you the same thing? Does it bother you at all when the two least-trusted institutions in the entire nation are reading from the same page, singing from the same hymnal, running the same playbook? No?
“Wherever I went in Europe,” Albert Jay Nock wrote during World War II, “I was struck by the persistence of the old original idea that America, and especially the United States, has no reason for existence except as a milk cow for Europe . . . that America’s resources should at all times be at the disposal of Europe for Europe’s benefit. Especially it was imperative that when Europe got into any kind of scrape, America’s plain duty was to take the brunt of it, and to stand by when the scape was settled, and clean up the débris at American expense.”
Mind you, Nock wrote those words several years before the Marshall Plan was ever conceived, several years before we decided to spend the second half of the century paying for the blunders of the first half. What greater (and sadder) indictment can there be of the Allies’ behavior that the war began with the invasion of Poland and ended with Poland being given away to one of the original invaders? (Remember, Russia and Germany invaded Poland together when they were pals in 1939.) It’s easy to say—as everyone does—that giving Poland to Russia was necessary in order to end the war and have peace. But if you’re willing to give away a nation whose territory you promised to defend, then why bother with the war in the first place?
This is not to suggest for an instant that it was wrong for us to fight and win the war. Only that the war itself could have been avoided completely, and we might ask ourselves why—with all of us so theoretically opposed to wars—it happened anyway.
Nock, who died in 1945, was a fascinating man. He was one of the first men to call himself a libertarian. But if you check his Wikipedia page, you’ll find out that he was an anti-Semite. This fact alone intruiged me, because an accusation of anti-Semitism, like an accusation of racism or of sexism (but somehow even more insidious), is the best trick our culture has for making it impossible to quote someone’s work or discuss his ideas. Cancel culture—which many of those on the Right mock without actually opposing—is the concept that a single wrong should delete an entire life. One false move, and we must airbrush the culprit out of all our photos. (Bye bye, Will Smith!) For the record, Nock was not, in fact, an anti-Semite. But the claim has proved a convenient way to marginalize him. In 1943, he also wrote the following:
At any time after 1936 it was evident that a European war would not be unwelcome to the Administration at Washington; largely as a means of diverting public attention from its flock of uncouth economic chickens on their way home to roost, but chiefly as a means of strengthening its malign grasp upon the country’s political and economic machine . . . Our Administration seemed to me to be in much the same situation as Mr. Asquith’s after 1911, and I expected it to act in the same way and for the same reasons; as in fact it did.
Nock predicted in 1935 that a new world war would start in the summer of 1939, not because Hitler was unstoppable in his evil schemes, but because the powers controlling public opinion and public expenditure in the West would also benefit from a war. Nock may be wrong, but this thesis is so awful in its implications that I suspect most of us would simply refuse to give it serious consideration.
And if Nock was right, we are going to have another world war soon.
Ask yourself: Would a diversion from poor economic conditions at home be of any help to professional politicians in Washington? How about an excuse for increasing government power? Just consider that the result of every war in modern history—in the winning nation—has been a transfer of social and economic power away from the people and toward the State: Higher taxes, more laws, more control over the daily lives of citizens. More government. That is what war does—when you win. And if you’re going to lose, who cares?
Do I think that our government is really so evil and incompetent that they’d get us into a war just so they remain in power (and increase their power)? Of course I do. They won’t realize the magnitude of the war until it’s too late. As is traditional.
I think that in four years we are going to be in a real war—a world war—against Russia and China. It will have been entirely unnecessary and avoidable, just like the first and second world wars. And it will be much worse than we imagine, because it is going to be fought with worse-than-nuclear weapons. We will face biological weapons, diseases that kill nine out of every 10 people they infect, rather than one in a 100,000. You’ll carry the disease around for two weeks without knowing, and two weeks later you’ll be dead. Two weeks after that, everyone you talked to will be dead. That’s the sort of thing that will happen in the next world war: After we lose our power and our internet and after the food supply-chain has been destroyed—after all that, expect bioweapons of horror-film-level malignancy.
If you don’t want a world war—well, I frankly don’t know if we can still prevent it. But if you’d like to be helpful, I can only suggest the following: Stop waving another nation’s flag on Facebook like a thoughtless idiot.