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Hollywood Doesn't Get It A Case of the Economic Shivers

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First You Need An Army

by Christopher Chantrill
May 28, 2006 at 12:01 pm


ONE THING THE situation in Iraq is demonstrating rather clearly. If you don’t have an army, you don’t have a country. Fortunately, the United States has always had an army, right from the start when George Washington first set siege to the British in Boston in 1775. On Memorial Day that is something to be thankful about.

Not that the US Army was much good at first. The Revolutionary War was mostly spent in retreat. The Civil War was a bloody mess, the first instance of the modern lethal battlefield. In World War I the doughboys had too much money. In World War II the GIs were overpaid, over sexed, and over there. But in Iraq, a British general has said, the US Army is showing that it is the best in the world.

You need an army to found a nation. The French Army was born as the nation in arms defending the Revolution from the crowned heads of Europe. The British Army is descended from Cromwell’s New Model Army. The Soviet Union was founded upon a bloody civil war won by its Red Army. Chairman Mao, whether or not he spent the Long March reclining in a litter, founded modern China on the power of his Red Army. And the Germans achieved their unification on the back of the most popular institution in the North German Federation: The German Army.

Why then do our liberals insist that war never solves anything? It is because, uniquely in all history, our liberals came to power without having to fight for it. In their first outing, during the Progressive Era, they staged a wrestling match with the evil robber barons. But the contest was as fake as a professional wrestling match, because the robber barons really weren’t interested in political power. Rockefeller was too busy founding the University of Chicago and funding medical research into hookworm; Carnegie was too busy building libraries and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; and J. Pierpont Morgan was too busy serving as unofficial central banker to the nation during the Crash of 1907. Liberals came to power in 1932 after the Progressive Era Federal Reserve System had failed to act as the lender of last resort after the Crash of 1929. So they blamed the disaster on Progressive politician Herbert Hoover. Who needed an army when you could get political power the easy way?

Even so, it is curious that even as liberals have reviled and marginalized the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces they have lionized the lefty thugs who never appeared except in army fatigues: Mao and Castro. Then there was that chap in the beret. What was his name?

Whatever may be the truth about wars and violence, liberals don’t like our army and they don’t like our soldiers. They understand that this does not win elections so they direct their distaste not at the soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coastguard directly , but obliquely at the “Pentagon.” In liberal books and liberal cartoons the armed forces of the United States are represented by the scheming Pentagon general with his chest of medals and his square, flat face.

The liberal war against the armed forces is part of their war against the nation state. The thinking goes something like this. The nation state equals aggressive nationalism, aggressive nationalism equals Nazism, therefore the national army is the instrument of fascism.

If you strip out the hyperbole, they have a point. The nation state is supported by the national idea. And if the national idea gets a little too enthusiastic it can be rather aggressive. When the nation state gets into a bad patch then the people of the nation look for strong leadership to lead them back from disaster to triumph. The chaps auditioning for “strong leader” may turn out to be Roosevelts and Churchills, or they may not.

But is the nation state such a terrible idea? On the contrary, far from being an atavism, the nation state is an advanced idea, the one political idea thus far that has persuaded ordinary people to loosen their loyalty to tribe and clan—that is, the instinctive tie to blood kin—and replace it with loyalty to a larger unity, to the abstract nation unified by the artificial and abstract idea of a national culture and a national language.

As we remember the fallen this Memorial Day let us all be proud of the advanced and civilized concept that they died to defend. They died in the name of a nation state that has been mixed together out every race and tribe in the world, a mongrel nation that is the prototype of the world society. Our nation state is defended and secured by the armed forces in which they served and fell. It can be no other way.

Every soldier who fell to defend the United States and its city on a hill is owed a debt by the nation that can never be repaid. The least we can do is to keep alive the memory of their service and their sacrifice. It is the only way to honor the loss that their families feel every day of their lives.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

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Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.”
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990

Mutual Aid

In 1911... at least nine million of the 12 million covered by national insurance were already members of voluntary sick pay schemes. A similar proportion were also eligible for medical care.
Green, Reinventing Civil Society


“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State

Living Under Law

Law being too tenuous to rely upon in [Ulster and the Scottish borderlands], people developed patterns of settling differences by personal fighting and family feuds.
Thomas Sowell, Conquests and Cultures

German Philosophy

The primary thing to keep in mind about German and Russian thought since 1800 is that it takes for granted that the Cartesian, Lockean or Humean scientific and philosophical conception of man and nature... has been shown by indisputable evidence to be inadequate. 
F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West


Inquiry does not start unless there is a problem... It is the problem and its characteristics revealed by analysis which guides one first to the relevant facts and then, once the relevant facts are known, to the relevant hypotheses.
F.S.C. Northrop, The Logic of the Sciences and the Humanities


“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison

Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh

Living Law

The recognition and integration of extralegal property rights [in the Homestead Act] was a key element in the United States becoming the most important market economy and producer of capital in the world.
Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital

presented by Christopher Chantrill

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