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What is the relationship between greatly increasing resources devoted towards a standing military and supporting the cause of individual liberty?

(- 5) Decentralized (libertarian) view: "War is the health of the state." "Statism" and military regimentation are fundamentally incompatible with liberty, which implies respect for property rights, voluntary exchange, and absence of coercion from the state. War typically involves grand theft of the resources of other countries as well as massive property destruction. Leaders use war as an excuse to curtail civil liberties, often under bogus pretexts. Government tends to expand and make more people dependent on it through its rationing programs and arms industries. The aftermath of war also tends to work against the private sector, since the government is typically saddled with a large debt and a meddlesome central bank. Paying off war debt means higher taxes and inflation (a hidden tax) that transfers wealth from private hands. This also conditions the public to accept spendthrift government and central bank intervention. Civil liberties curtailed during war are typically not fully restored in peace time, creating a ratchet up effect after each war. War propaganda also glorifies government spending on research and development, when in fact it is usually very inefficient by private sector standards. It is a sad day when the civilian community becomes so culturally fragmented and disoriented that it feels a need to lean on military "culture." Militia members who fought for home and hearth during the pioneer era were qualitatively very different from the professional mercenary soldiers who fight for the global super state today. The real history of the Spanish American War and World War I suggests that America could have stayed out of both conflicts, and avoided triggering many of the evils that followed. We still have two big oceans to protect us, and our best "defense" is to be a good neighbor, not a bully. We need to secure our border with Mexico and other sources of out of control Third World immigration first and rebuild our private sector domestic industry before we go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.
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(+5) Centralized (authoritarian) view: Even in the early 19th century, Americans had to fight abroad against the Barbary Pirates. As a maritime nation, Americans must fight around the world in support of global trade. America's massive overseas interventions in World Wars I and II and during the Cold War must have been for a good reason. We learned that we must proactively lead the world and not wait for problems to come to our shores. To protect global freedom, we must show the world that we mean business with global military might. The world is too dangerous a place for us to take any risk that we could get caught unprepared. Modern war demands long lead times to develop advanced hardware and achieve economies of scale, and one cannot realistically expect to create all of this overnight to handle advanced enemies. We also require extensive investment in staff resources and intelligence activities to handle the complexities of a modern defense establishment. Military spending not only defends the free world, but plays an important role in creating jobs, It keeps the economy stimulated. It funds important research and development programs that promote technological leadership. The military can provide important education benefits and job experience. It promotes valor, patriotic idealism, and respect for law and order. It brings order and structure to a society that has been badly fragmented by permissiveness, drug culture, broken homes, and other social ills. Wearing the uniform builds personal pride and motivates people to become better citizens. It puts weak males through stressful training and helps turn them into real men. By strengthening the civilian community in this way, Americans become that much better at supporting freedom and liberty at home as well as abroad. Ultimately there is no conflict, because each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces is "family" right up there with mom, home, the flag, and apple pie. We only owe it to ourselves to support a big strong military at all costs.

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Flag carried by the 3rd Maryland Regiment at the Battle of Cowpens, S. Carolina, 1781

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