Tag: war is murder

If I Broke into Your House

TJ Roberts | United States

If I broke into your house, I would not be justified. I would be a violent criminal with no respect for private property and personal sovereignty.

If I broke into your house, you would be justified in using force to remove me from your house. You would even be able to use lethal force.

If I broke into your house, I would not be justified in using violence against you when you attempt to remove me. You have the right to do what it takes.

If I broke into your house, everything I do in your house is a breach of your rights, no matter how kind I am about it.

If I broke into your house and you pulled a gun on me, I do not have the right to kill you. I do not have the right to kill your family either.

If my friend told me to break into your house, I still would not be justified. My friend would be inciting violence.

If I broke into your house and took everything you had, you’d want your stuff back. You’d want your family back. You’d want revenge.

If I Broke Into Your House and Called it War, Does That Change Your Mind?

Why is it that these principles are so universally accepted when it applies to you, but not for others? Americans as a whole condemn any person or group who would violently invade the property of another. This attitude, however, immediately changes when we transition to war. America is an empire; there is no existential threat to the U.S. Ultimately, every war the U.S. is engaged in is nothing more than an act of aggression against another sovereign nation.

War is the foundation of the modern state. So far, the U.S. has killed more than 20 million people since the end of World War II in pursuit of empire. In fact, America’s attempt at destabilizing and radicalizing the Middle East has killed at least 4 million people. If other any nation was responsible for so many deaths, the world would rally against it and burn its leaders like the witches in Salem.

Now that the U.S. is withdrawing from Syria, it is time to withdraw the military from the rest of the world and truly pursue non-interventionism. The Military Industrial Complex has not made us free or safe. Rather, U.S. intervention has led to massive debt, breaches of privacy, and a complete disregard for civil liberties on the domestic front. It is even worse for the inhabitants of foreign nations. If the Chinese government murdered your family, you would want revenge. If the Chinese government slaughtered your friends, it would radicalize you. American intervention has killed millions, destroyed the infrastructure, and radicalized the survivors.

Blowback

This, of course, leads to blowback in the US. If you want to know why 9/11 happened, ask yourself what you would do if the United Nations invaded your nation, flipped its regime, killed your family, destroyed your home, crippled your infrastructure, and oppressed your culture. Would you want revenge?

This is exactly what happened on September 11th. While war hawks (who would never enlist to fight the wars they are calling for) will say that ending the wars will pave a way to the next 9/11, the fact is that U.S. occupation of the Middle East in the 90s is what caused 9/11. It wasn’t a random attack. It was unjustified, but the U.S. nonetheless created the climate for such an attack.

A Foreign Policy of Freedom

Perhaps our foreign policy should resemble the golden rule. If you were invaded, you would use violence to repel the invader whether the invader is a military or a home intruder. Why do you expect something different from sovereign nations that the U.S. government sees as its colonies? If you don’t want to be invaded, don’t invade other nations. To avoid falling victim to economic warfare, don’t engage in economic warfare. If you don’t want nations to bomb you, don’t bomb other nations.

It is time that we reject war as the racket that it is. Too many people have suffered as a result of the American Empire’s attempt to destroy the sovereignty of any nation that did not bend its knee to the will of the U.S. War is nothing more than legalized mass murder. It is breaking into someone else’s house. Don’t be surprised when they respond with violence.


This article was originally published in LIFE.

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The Murderous Military Uses Call of Duty for Target Practice

By Ryan Lau | @agorisms

Undeniably, the United States has a culture of violence. From its sky-high rates of sexual assault to violent acts on TV, American society fetishizes aggression. In fact, by the time an American turns 18, they will have seen 200,000 violent acts on TV. However, these examples pale in comparison to one of the deadliest organizations in the history of the world: the United States military.

Since 1945, our armed forces have directly killed at least 20 million people in 37 countries. This astounding figure shows a true world atrocity. Nonetheless, the military continues to adapt and grow stronger, learning new ways to kill. Moreover, it learns new ways to convince people to kill and die for it. A long-standing example of this is the concept of American exceptionalism and patriotism. As time passes by, though, they create more intuitive ways of doing so. A recent example actually perpetuates the violence already present in American culture. In the past couple of years, the military has used Call of Duty and other violent video games in order to desensitize soldiers to killing, making it easier for them to do so in battle.

Murder Training

Since the turn of the century, violent video games have become a major category of entertainment, especially in America. From Grand Theft Auto to Halo, shooting games are widely popular among a diverse audience, young and old. Unfortunately for Middle Eastern civilians, the trend has spread to the military.

The United States military strongly encourages all combat units to participate in games like Call of Duty. Their several varying reasons for such are each about as reasonable as a full invasion of Canada.

A Simulation of Real Combat Experiences

One Iraq War veteran described the experiences of Black Ops 2 as “intensive and highly realistic approaches to tactical combat”. Presumably, the former soldier has held both a gaming controller and a gun, and also witnessed both reality and a digital world. The two are vastly different, and it is disturbing that someone who holds a gun for the United States does not think so.

However similar the decisions may be, a video game simulation can never mirror the weight of having to kill another human being. Pressing the R button on a controller simply does not equate in any way to stopping a beating heart. Such equivalencies may belong in sci-fi works like Ender’s Game, but not the real world. Terrifyingly, though, this soldier is not alone in his belief.

It Desensitizes Soldiers to Violence

In 2012, Brock Bastian and several other psychologists ran a study on the effects of violent video games on the brain. Unsurprisingly, they found a deeply chilling result: the games could actually desensitize soldiers and other people to real-world violence. By simply pressing buttons on a controller, these people reacted less to the suffering of other people.

To the military, this is an ominously great gift. Of course, the very goal of the organization, every time it goes overseas, is to kill enemies for American interests. That is a simple fact of how militaries work. Even though we created many of the enemies, such fact is often irrelevant. In order to carry out their goals, the armed forces require people willing to kill and die for them.

What better way is there to draw these people and ensure their participation than by crippling the parts of their brains that feel for other human beings? From a strategic standpoint, the move is brilliant, as it inevitably will reduce rates of disobedience and deserting. Yet, from a position of morality, the move is nearly as awful as the military actions themselves. To rob a man or woman of morals and feeling is to rob that person of their meaning and being. From an institution with the blood of 20 million in 70 years on its hands, I expect nothing less.

A Mindset Without a Call of Duty

Recently, The Conversation interviewed a number of soldiers and veterans about Call of Duty and other violent video games and their service. Many of them reported the importance of remaining “in the mindset of a soldier” while they were not currently on a call of duty. The argument here falls apart both morally and practically.

When a doctor goes home, he or she (most likely) does not run MRIs on his or her family. Yet, upon returning to work, even after a vacation, that doctor does not lose abilities. If knowledge as deeply complex and difficult as how to be a doctor does not vanish with time away, why would that be true of a soldier? It takes little skill to be one in relation to a doctor. Yet, doctors can take time off without staying in the doctor mindset and still return to duty.

The only way this could be necessary for soldiers, then, is if the job requires doing something that the normal human psyche would oppose, like killing. But of course, that is exactly what being a soldier entails. Yet, this argument still backfires morally. If being a soldier violates basic human nature and decency, why should anyone reinforce it with continued violence?

Surely, Call of Duty and other violent video games are having detrimental effects on American soldiers. By desensitizing troops to violence and making poor simulations of combat, the games make a dangerous promise: to add to that 20 million, the next time American boots touch some foreign sand.


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Politics is Awful but Necessary for Liberty in the Future

By Dylan Anders | @realdylananders

John Adams wrote, in a 1780 letter to his wife:

“I must study Politics and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematics and Philosophy.”

To be frank and seemingly hypocritical, I despise politics. The political system that many fellow citizens subscribe to is a perpetual debate of whose war is preferable, which tax plan would better supersede the previous president’s, and whether to legalize firearms or marijuana. All of these are the same question in disguise:

Which boot tastes better, the right or the left? In what way can the government claim itself all-powerful today?

These arguments are too childish for many of us, but we engage anyways, in a tangential manner. We criticize the deceit of Washington and its partners in an attempt to open the eyes of the masses. However, we should know that the masses do remain a part of the majority for the same reason that humans are drawn towards the thought of safety and dogmatism.

The necessity for contemporary politics means that there is a lack of liberty. This is inherent in today’s partisan system.

Thus, I hate politics. I yearn a feeling of gratification if I were to indulge in the studies of the sciences and the arts. However, I feel deeply obligated to debate, to write, to speak. One day, a day may come where society is free, but today is not that day. Today, it is not right to study the sciences and the arts, though they are fascinating. Liberty is necessary so that the next generations can indulge in life’s finer aspects.

Surely, these subjects are a noble cause in and of themselves, but I find myself baffled as to how seemingly intelligent men and women can be so complacent. After all, they are in the presence of an authority that will steal, kill, and abandon truth.

Being able to think critically, speak intently, and act willfully is the fundamental sign of a free human being.

Clearly, we know not what the future holds. However, one thing is clear. In the words of modern thinker Stefan Molyneux: We must debate or die. Otherwise, we are useless for the moral compass we claim to stand for.

For every wrongful act of government, be it the acts of genocide on innocent children, imprisonment of peaceful people, or authoritative policing on all citizens, I seemed to become more and more discouraged in this cause. But with this concept, hope can still exist. Our bodies may be compromised, but as long as I have my mind and my spirit, I am victorious against all tyrants. And by standing against these tyrants, the next generation may see a brighter future.


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It’s Time to Ensure Equal Standards for Government and the People

By Ryan Lau | @agorisms

In today’s political landscape, government and the people do not have an equal amount of power. Such a notion really is indisputable, considering the fact that our military just aided Saudi forces by supplying weapons and mid-air support to their air strikes, which bombed and killed a bus full of schoolchildren in Yemen Thursday. However, not one of them will face a prison sentence, or any real punishment at all. In fact, most of this, like the planes, flew under the radar of the people entirely.

Clearly, if an individual did this, he or she would be looking at a nasty punishment, likely involving the electric chair. But ironically, the death penalty is also an example of government carrying more rights than the people. As the average time spent on death row exceeds 15 years, it is safe to say that this is no act of self defense. Thus, it is yet another legal ability government has, but the people do not. It’s darkly and bitterly funny how the state sees killing. They kill people who kill people, because killing people is wrong, right? Got it. How else would you deal with someone who does something so morally reprehensible as killing someone?

Now, the list of government privileges that the people do not have goes far beyond these two. For example, the government may confiscate your land through eminent domain, then take and sell back your right to fish on that land. Imagining the consequences of an individual trying to do the same to his neighbor leads down a wicked path to the end of a shotgun barrel, not to mention a potential for some more government-approved killing as well.

Despite this clear power imbalance, the most crucial part of the Declaration of Independence directly warns against such an atrocity.

To secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. 

The Consent of the Governed clause is a tremendously important segment of the document. Though not legally binding, it establishes an important precedent for the types of government that may exist.

Essentially, this clause states that the people may choose what powers they give to the state. Power begins with the people, and then, they may delegate them to the state at will. But how can the people delegate powers that they don’t have in the first place?

The question stumped Vermont’s very own Senator Bernie Sanders, in a 2008 interview. The independent, on a YouTube show with Jan Helfeld, agreed that all just powers of the government are derived from the people. But then, after some back and forth questioning, Sanders admits that people do not have the right to initiate force against others (sans self defense).

As Helfeld excellently questions after this, how can the people delegate this right, if they do not have it? If the people give their rights to the government, and that is the only form of just government, how does a just government obtain rights that the people did not have, and thus, were entirely unable to give away? This sends Sanders, and likely many others, into a tailspin.

The senator admits that the people give the state the power to make war and roads. Then, he goes so far as to say yes, people can give government rights they do not have. However, this is entirely contradictory to his previous statement.

In no way is Bernie Sanders alone in his clearly contradictory beliefs in this manner. He just happened to be unlucky enough to get caught under the net of Helfeld’s tough questioning. When it comes down to it, all 100 senators have the same ideals as Sanders, in this way. All claim a desire for a just and representative government, as outlined by the founding documents of our country. Yet, all support a government with rights that the people do not have.

Last March, the Senate voted, 55-44, against a treaty that would have made it more difficult for the president to place troops in Yemen without congressional oversight. In fact, Sanders, along with Senators Mike Lee and Chris Murphy, were on the right side of this one. Had the bill passed, Congress would have needed to approve any further military action. But in this case, even the right side ignores the real issues.

Regardless of whether or not the president or Congress is stationing troops in Yemen, there is a body forcing troops to go to Yemen. Yes, it is true that the draft is not currently active, and those in Yemen are volunteers. But the Senate made sure in 2016 that they had the power to round up the troops if necessary. When the civilians do that one, it’s called kidnapping.

Ultimately, it matters little whether the men (and women now) in Yemen are volunteer or recruit. Likewise, it matters little in the 39% of the world’s countries the United States is fighting terror in. Spoiler alert, terror is winning. With each civilian casualty, terror spreads. And as it all happens, the government approves it, clearly without a justification.

Thomas Jefferson was an imperfect man, owning slaves and having an affair with at least one of them. His public policy was also, in many cases, hypocritical, as his distaste for noble blood matched his equal belief that white blood was superior. But, when it comes to the Declaration of Independence, the third president is spot on.

A government, if it is to exist at all, must derive its rights from the consent of the governed (not from 51% of them, either). Today’s state entirely ignores this principle. In many cases such as with Senator Sanders, our elected officials do not even realize their own hypocrisy. It is time to take the government back, end the wars, bring the rights back to the people, and eliminate those rights which do not exist at all. It is time to ensure equal standards exist between government and the people. The future of our country and the lives of those abroad depend on it.


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