Why The Neutralist? The term Isolationist implies a narrow Fortress America outlook and is used as an epithet. The term Neutralist does not indicate someone hiding out from the world. No one calls the Swiss isolationists. The Wilsonian world view is old, tired and wrong. Our interventions have been less and less successful and now the failure can no longer be covered up.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Times have changed, World War I no longer a holy war

There was a back and forth between Humanities Professor Paul Gottfried and Sean Gabb The Professor’s started with an article at Takimag about how the Brits were anxious to start a war, and got one in the early 20th Century.

Mr. Gabb is an English libertarian and director of the Libertarian Alliance across the pond.  He admits the Brits were not blameless, but has a few points in defense.  

It was all interesting, but what struck me was how things have changed since my childhood.  I am a boomer and when TV was new, they were constantly showed old movies while they were getting up to speed on providing constant vapid programming. There were a lot of flicks shown showcasing our involvement in World War II.  There were less, but still a number doing the same for “The Great War.”  Yankee Doodle Dandy, about George M. Cohan glorifies his role in stirring up patriotism with “Over There.”  The Fighting 69th was about how a unit of New York Irish made the Kaiser Howl.  Dawn Patrol had Errol Flynn as a Brit hero.  They never showed the Gary Cooper version of A farewell to Arms though.  There was a film that was hagiographic about Wilson.

The point is, nobody then said anything against World War I.  It was a right and just crusade to make the world safe for democracy.  A war to end all wars, blah, blah blah.
How times have changed.  neither Gottfried or Gabb thinks the war was anything but stupid and US involvement mistaken.  All thinking people have to believe that their nations’s participation unfortunate at best and buffoonery at worst.

At least the Euros and claim that they drifted into the war and mistake brought mistake.  A statesman, if we could resurrect him today and ask him why he did what he did, could only give the defense I give over all my bad choices in college, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

Wilson, however has no excuse.  A war an ocean away did not call us.  We dialed it up.  The question as to why he did it has only one of two answers.  Either he was the pawn of the American financial interests or he was an idiot.  Or maybe both.

That was another century.  So to our own age.  The Neutralist was of course against both Afghanistan and Iraq.  Iraq was dopey on the face of it.  As to Afghanistan, we had been wronged and were going to have a war because, well, we had been wronged.  Dr. Gottfried has the best words on the subject, writing about WWI,  “The Germans should have restrained the Austrians even after Serb agents killed Austria’s Archduke Ferdinand.”  One would think the descendants of both the Habsburgs and Hohenzollerns wish he had.  Yet to go to war probably seemed like a good or least worst idea at the time.

We shall think about Afghanistan in the same way someday.

There is the Wilson Quaterly and probably some Wilsonians, but the Wilsonian doctrine is so patently foolish, that one wonders how anyone could believe it.  Yet most everyone did.

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