Asia had a very different political and economic landscape in the 1930s before the Second Sino-Japanese War. Due to the Xinhai Revolution in 1911, the Qing Dynasty collapsed into several weak states. This was a far cry from the unified superstate that dominates Asia today.
By Daniel Szewc | Republic of Poland
Beyond what most politically oriented people think, authoritarian capitalism hasn’t only existed as the offspring of third-positionism meeting reality, in the form of military dictatorships- (ie late stage Francoism, Pinochet’s Chicago boys or Xiaoping Deng’s opening on the world. In fact, the biggest ideological precursor of free market consequentialism in the interwar period was an authoritarian capitalist. Namely, Roman Dmowski, a world-renowned Polish diplomat, head started the biggest nationalist/right-wing movement that supported free market values in Europe.
Aside for his ideological work, he was a signatory of the Versailles treaty. During his first talk with the big 3 (Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin; U.S.President Franklin D. Roosevelt; and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill), Dmowski gave a five-hour entry speech concerning Poland’s bid for independence. In it, he explained how an independent Poland would positively influence the balance of power in Europe. Interestingly, after a few sentences in Polish, his dissatisfaction with the translator’s ability to express his points in English and French, he decided to make his points in said languages himself.
After achieving his goal of creating an independent Poland, he proceeded to pursue a short-lived political career as minister of foreign affairs. Moving out of partisan politics completely, he constructed a political ideology named “National Democracy”, based on a principle of nationally aware masses that knew and understood the interest of their nation. He also coined the term “national egoism”, the idea that a nation-state should only pursue its own interest, not foreign ones. As to not make the state Machiavellian in nature, and ready to undermine all other nations, he was a strong supporter of morals and civic responsibility. What’s more, in an era of blatant global antisemitism, and the support for expulsion/extermination of Jews, he proposed a healthy rivalry- for example, instead of burning down Jewish shops, he promoted natives building their own. As to show how far he was from fascism rhetorically, he said that he doubted that fascism would outlive Mussolini himself (prior to the thought of a world war coming up being blatant).
Economically, he despised the “third way”- he was a supporter of the Krakow school of economics, a precursor to the Austrian school of economics. Its first member, (Prof. Dunajewski) was the teacher of Carl Menger, the founder of the Austrian school. Later on, Heydel and Rybarski, two Polish economists who proposed extreme deregulation of the economy during the time when most of the world was shifting towards Keynesian economic interventionism, lead the economic thought in his nationalist movement.
Dmowski’s line of reasoning was based upon the logical conclusion of taking the following ideas as principles- that his nation had potential, and that regulations slowed down the economy. The conclusion to this is that the members of the said nation should be allowed to freely compete in a free market, and through it, gain the best results. His hard work results in the fact that the biggest nationalist/libertarian party in Poland, Liberty (Wolność), is a market-oriented, pro-free trade movement.
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By Andrew Lepore | United States
Libertarians often advocate a wide range of policies, from limiting intervention overseas to the abolition of certain government programs. In many cases, opponents simply reply, “If you don’t like it here, why don’t you just leave?” If you haven’t triggered enough cognitive dissonance in a statist to blurt out that line, you’re probably not trying hard enough. Statists often resort to this appeal when a real argument does not exist. This phrase is the statist’s last line of defense when they have exhausted all else.
The Statist Logical Fallacy
This “argument” is in fact not an argument at all. it is neither moral nor utilitarian. It, in fact, is one of the worst things to say in a debate. Essentially, this line says that nobody should resist oppression. It implies that people should not try to overturn unjust laws, and instead should simply run away from the mob majority. A free society does not allow the mob majority to have such control in the first place, and this rhetoric brings us further away from a free society.
The fact of morality is that aggression is immoral. It simply does not matter what majority decided it was okay. It likewise does not matter what group has a monopoly of power in that area. No imaginary borders, no majority, no social contract, can make what is immoral, moral. Libertarians just want to live their lives free of coercion. Statists, on the other hand, seek to control. They are the ones who dictate to others how to live, who take part of the fruits of others’ labor and spend it how they please. Yet, they have the audacity to say that if someone doesn’t like it, they must leave. With the power-hungry iron fist of the state, they seek to rule the lives of fellow men. So, how are libertarians in the wrong for wanting to live and let live?
Refutations to Self-Exile
If confronted with such an absurd response by a likely nationalist, flag waving, Trump praising statist, who probably quotes the founding fathers when it suits them, point out that by their own principle the founders should have just left the colonies. Apparently, the founders were just crybabies for demanding freedom and fighting for it. They should have just left. it appears logical consistency is of little importance to the statist.
If confronted by a collectivist, when pointing out the evils of the state extorting half of your income, point out a quite similar situation that occurred in our history. By their own principle, abolitionists were just crybabies who should have left America if they didn’t like the enslavement of Africans. After all, the majority had said it was okay to own slaves. By this logic, the abolitionists were wrong even for advocating the end of slavery. Next, watch them backpedal.
This principle can be applied to any example of tyranny throughout history. If the Jews in Nazi Germany didn’t like what was going on, why didn’t they just leave? If those living in the Soviet Union didn’t want to starve, I guess they should have just left. Neither the state nor anybody else has the right to rule over others’ lives.
A Contradiction of Logic and Morality
Thus, it appears that the argument is a clear contradiction of logic and morality. Rather than simply walking away, fight for positive change in society. Disagreeing with an aspect of such a society does not mean that the society as a whole is not worth living in.
Tom Woods excellently states the fact that without a doubt, the moral burden in this case lies only on the state.
“Why should I leave? Why is the moral burden on me when in fact you’re the one with a gun to my head. Your the one who wishes to expropriate me then use the proceeds to fund drone strikes. It would seem to me that a healthy moral reckoning would have it that you would have to demonstrate your right to do that before I would have to demonstrate my right to sit here unmolested” – Tom E. Woods.
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By Kirk Classic | United States
There comes a time in every man’s life where he must come to define himself and make his way in the world, or risk being left behind and embittered. Often times I meet young men with little ambition, save for wealth, which is often concluded as the best alternative to defining the self. I then ask, “Do you want to be a man?” When the young man inevitably answers yes, I ask “What is a man?” Shrugs, a loss of eye contact, maybe even an awkward smile answer me. The one thing that never does is an answer.
How can boys hope to be something so ill-defined? Perhaps more concerning is the question of why it has a lost meaning? Unfortunately for so many young men today, their masculinity, interests and race is being attacked, making their struggle towards self-actualization an even steeper climb that it ought to be. It is during these times of startling uncertainly that the allure of nationalism looms the brightest.
In geography, a nation is a group with common descent, history, culture, or language in a territory. The word can overlap with a state, which is a group with common government and sovereignty, but it does not have to. Nationalism is when individuals drawn to the group identity of a common people seek to accrue power and advocate for said people, on the premise of superiority.
All too often, quite unfortunately, young men fall in love with the comfort of taking pride in their own heritage. Many times, the group is a supplement for the unremarkable achievements or lack of resolution of the individual who wishes to be unjustifiably fulfilled by a people long gone. How can you feel pride for the achievements of men you have never met, are loosely related to, and have no personal investment in? If you’ve ever called into question the paradoxical nature of race based reparations, this follows closely to that flawed mentality.
The nationalist, more or less, perceives the world like so. ‘The greatest architect known to man was a part of my tribe. He was the greatest architect because he was intelligent. Now, the architect’s achievements are an attribute. Therefore, as a descendant, I share these attributes. Thus, I feel pride.’
Pride is “a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.” More simply put, pride is a feeling of satisfaction regarding an object of investment. Just as others feel a surrogate shame for the actions of people long dead, the nationalist feels pride for those whom he had no investment in.
Joseph Sobran noted in his 2001 column “Patriotism or Nationalism?” that, “In the same way, many Americans admire America for being strong, not for being American. For them, America has to be “the greatest country on earth” in order to be worthy of their devotion. If it were only the 2nd-greatest, or the 19th-greatest, or, heaven forbid, “a 3rd-rate power,” it would be virtually worthless.”
He then continues to state, “This is nationalism, not patriotism. Patriotism is like family love. You love your family just for being your family, not for being “the greatest family on earth” (whatever that might mean) or for being “better” than other families. You don’t feel threatened when other people love their families the same way. On the contrary, you respect their love, and you take comfort in knowing they respect yours. You don’t feel your family is enhanced by feuding with other families.”
As George Orwell astutely observed, “[there is a] habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’. But secondly – and this is much more important – I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognizing no other duty than that of advancing its interests.”
Steven Pinker, a cognitive psychologist and linguist, argues that by closing a dialogue and shunning dissenting thought, people will be more heavily drawn to opinions out of the ordinary that they seldom hear being represented truthfully. This creates an effect where the most alluring ideas are the most radical, because the radicals are hardest to silence.
If nationalism is created by the allure of a group identity, then it stands to reason that they do their part in destroying our individualist culture. There is danger in the path forward. The world works in equilibrium. Individuality and group identity are paramount forces. A lack of proper balance of the two can spell disaster.
Intellectual honesty is a war on two fronts. On one hand one must do battle with oneself. On the other hand, one must do battle with everything outside. It is a maddening process that has left greater men addled beyond belief. But, in the face of inevitable pockets of untruth, what is the alternative? Death in a society is sign of life, and though we know society will fall, in each of us is the fire that says “not today.” And as that fire roars and claims our flesh as fuel, let that fuel be so rich that it keeps warm those who will succeed us for generations.
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By Mason Mohon | United States
The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand sparked what was quickly termed “The Great War” and “The War to End All Wars.” World War 1 was an absolute bloodbath, causing about 17 million deaths, yet it doesn’t quite get that attention it deserves. World War 2 can easily be blamed on evil Nazis and an evil Japanese emperor, but World War 1 is a little harder to write off like that. What was the cause of this war, and how can we avoid it again?
The history is cloudy from the beginning. Historian Ralph Raico maintains that “there is no evidence whatsoever that Germany in 1914 deliberately unleashed a European war which it had been preparing for years.” Economist David Gordon says that “the catastrophe resulted from miscalculation and botched diplomacy.” It is a complicated conflict, and the true causes that plunged multiple continents down such a spiral must be rooted out.
Why was the U.S. involved, though? Historians and high school history classes will make it seem like it was very cut and dry: Germany said they would quit with the U-boats, and they didn’t quit with the U-boats, so the United States joined the conflict. This explanation seems sensible enough, but it has holes, and it has since the beginning. Senator Norris said in a speech on April 4, 1917, that the United States was being partial towards Britain in its actions:
The reason given by the President in asking Congress to declare war against Germany is that the German Government has declared certain war zones, within which, by the use of submarines, she sinks, without notice, American ships and destroys American lives. The first war zone was declared by Great Britain. She gave us and the world notice of it on the 4th day of November, 1914. Both of these orders declaring military zones were illegal and contrary to international law. It is sufficient to say that our Government has officially declared both of them to be illegal and has officially protested against both of them.
Britain and Germany were in violation of the same international laws. They had both done wrong, so why was the United States so upset with Germany and why did it find allegiance with Britain. As a matter of fact, most of Woodrow Wilson’s administration was partial towards the British from the very start, leaving no room for any blame to be put on the rainy little island.
Britain and Germany had both violated international laws, but Wilson turned a blind eye to their actions to act in favor of Britain and declare war on Germany in response to the Zimmerman telegram that was intercepted. The president declared war with the intention of making the world “safe for democracy,” an idea that at this point had become all too vague. This allows us to root out the real issue that brought such peril to the global table.
Mises explains the following on pages 819-820, and 827 of Human Action:
Aggressive nationalism is the necessary derivative of the policies of interventionism and national planning. While laissez-faire eliminates the causes of international conflict, government interference with business and socialism create conflicts for which no peaceful solution can be found. While under free trade and freedom of migration no individual is concerned about the territorial size of his country, under the protective measures of economic nationalism nearly every citizen has a substantial interest in these territorial issues…. Economic nationalism, the necessary complement of domestic interventionism, hurts the interests of foreign peoples and thus creates international conflict. It suggests the idea of amending this unsatisfactory state of affairs by war. Why should a powerful nation tolerate the challenge of a less powerful nation? Is it not insolence on the part of small Lapputania to injure the citizens of big Ruritania by customs, migration barriers, foreign exchange control, quantitative trade restrictions, and expropriation of Ruritanian investments in Lapputania? Would it not be easy for the army of Ruritania to crush Lapputania’s contemptible forces?
Economic nationalism is the cause of such great and powerful wars, and economic nationalism goes hand-in-hand with general nationalism. Much like how Trump’s “America First” policies come along with protectionism and military growth, the rise of American tariffs under president Taft and the idea of “Dollar Diplomacy” allowed for the growth of the “America is the greatest” attitude. This attitude was not unique to the U.S. either because much of Europe had adopted both economic and noneconomic nationalism, causing a race to high military power. Limiting free trade and becoming obsessed with the idea that the ideals of your nation are the best is sure to lead to war.
Germans were told their entire way of life was under attack, so absurd numbers of Germans threw themselves towards the war effort, creating a massive German army to reckon with. The destruction of so many untrained soldiers and fighters resulted in a mythos the Nazis could later propagate for support.
Ludwig von Mises went on to say that “To defeat the aggressors is not enough to make peace durable. The main thing is to discard the ideology that generates war.” The ideology backing war is what causes it. Let us remember what Wilson’s rationale for involvement was: making the world “safe for democracy.” That right there is the problem.
David Gordon said in response to this Wilsonian idea of Democracy promotion that “`democracy’ was already beginning to mean what it means today-of a government legitimized by formal majoritarian processes to dispose at will of the lives, liberty, and property of its subjects.” We still fight wars in defense of what we call Democracy. We bomb innocent civilians in the middle east, wiretap American citizens, and restrict movement across the globe, all under the guise of Democracy protection.
Hans-Hermann Hoppe was no kinder in his socioeconomic analysis of the system of governing. In my summary and explanation of Hoppe’s book earlier this year, I explained the following:
Public [democratic] governments at war engage in total war. Because the distinction between the rulers and the ruled is nonexistent, there is no ruler to target, so the entire civil population is suddenly involved in the conflict. This also means the would-be ruled get especially involved, leading to nationalism, or “the emotional identification of the public with large anonymous groups of people” based on language, culture, race, or just country, according to Hoppe. These wars now mold into national wars. The war is against two different ways of life, which means that the only way to win is “cultural, linguistic, or religious domination and subjugation (or extermination).” The distinction between combatants and noncombatants becomes null and the brutality of war increases to a horrific degree. “The new era of democratic republican warfare… is the era of total war.” Think of the American Civil War, where the Northern Union was intent on the complete decimation of the Southern lifestyle, causing entire towns to be burnt to the ground and a profound number of American-born troops to be lost.
A total war of nation against nation results in profound destruction and loss of life. Mises explained that we must take the roots out if we want to eliminate the fruits. The root of war is nationalism, and the root of nationalism in the modern age is Democracy. Eliminating such a bizarre socioeconomic system that promotes such horrid acts is the aim of many radical libertarians, and an elimination of this flawed and corrupt neoliberal American system must be our primary aim.