The second pro-war article from City Journal is an angry piece titled The Peace Racket. Primarily a rant against peace studies in academia (one of the supreme bugbears for the militarist right), it is led off by this singular howler, which sets the tone for the rest of the article, and is indeed an apt summation of the propoganda peddled- and for all I know, genuinely believed- by the militarist right:
Call it the Peace Racket.
We need to make two points about this [peace] movement at the outset. First, it’s opposed to every value that the West stands for—liberty, free markets, individualism—and it despises America, the supreme symbol and defender of those values. Second, we’re talking not about a bunch of naive Quakers but about a movement of savvy, ambitious professionals that is already comfortably ensconced at the United Nations, in the European Union, and in many nongovernmental organizations.
Oh my. The Commies are back, citizen, and they’ve infiltrated every level of power! All these people who pretend to be outraged over American militarism and imperialism- they want to take your Big Macs and send you to the gulag, which will be run by bloodthirsty Muslim fanatics no doubt. How do you recognize these vile beasts, these Reds masquerading as peace-makers? They say nasty things about our Lord and Saviour, the United States of America. They protest the wars of our holy and sovereign State! They suggest that things aren’t as simple as rightist propoganda makes it out to be- they suggest listening to and understanding other cultures, as opposed to bombing them and thus liberating them. In short, they are wretched subversives, each and everyone, and while we can’t lock them up- that would cause some problems in public relations- we should do our best to combat them with all available means. We should also hold steady, keep the course, fifty years on, and all that.
But doesn’t the author have a point- aren’t many of the peace activists on the left lovers of totalitarianism? I don’t doubt it- the majority of leftists have been in bed with statist authoritarianism for years. Of course, even proving that all opponents of American militarism were secret Commies wouldn’t be an automatic invalidation of their claims- but propoganda is rarely concerned with the niceties of logical argument. Still, let us propose for a minute that all leftist peace activists are secret totalitarians, just waiting for their chance to launch a new Cultural Revolution. There are still- wonder of wonders- non-authoritarian, non-leftist even, opponents of American- and otherwise- imperialism and militarism and so forth. There are people who actually, genuinely believe that “war is the health of the State,” and that the State is very often the true and most powerful enemy of such things as free markets, liberty, and individualism. There are “peaceniks” who value peace and non-interventionism, not because they hate liberty, but because they love it, and see through the thin propoganda of war-mongering rightists (and leftists).
Speaking of which, the following is an excerpt from an article exemplifying the logic of this libertarian branch of the “Peace Racket”- logic one very much hopes many more on the right (and left!) will come to embrace:
Thus, libertarians who embrace the U.S. foreign policy that has held our nation in its grip for so long have one of the most important decisions of their lives confronting them. By hewing to two contradictory philosophies — one of freedom and one that destroys freedom — circumstances have now placed them in a moral and philosophical quandary. Will they continue hewing to a pro-empire, pro-intervention foreign policy, thereby giving up all hope of a free society at home? Or will they choose to maintain their commitment to libertarianism here in America, which means rejecting an imperial, interventionist foreign policy? Or will they simply act as if no choice at all now confronts them?