Mises Wire

Do You Know Who’s Hitting You?

fist punch through red paper

Which of the following statements is politically correct?

None of them, of course. Each is linked to an article written by Future of Freedom Foundation founder Jacob Hornberger over the past few years. Hornberger, refreshingly, has never been delicate in his treatment of political issues. He fires his thoughts straight at us, without detour or apology. Normally.

For example, were encouraged to thank the troops for their service. But what does that mean, exactly? What are we thanking them for? Hornberger writes, “Killing people. That’s what U.S. soldiers have been doing in Iraq since 1990 and in Afghanistan since 2001. They have been killing people. Lots of people. Hundreds of thousands of people. And they continue to do so on a regular basis.”

Among historians, Woodrow Wilson is considered one of the better United States presidents (ranked thirteenth best here). With the help of a warmongering staff and Abraham Lincoln–like aggression against the American people, including conscription, which Wilson claimed Orwellian-style was “in no sense a conscription of the unwilling . . . but a selection from a nation which has volunteered in mass,” Wilson was able to send 2.8 million draftees overseas to fill the French landscape with American corpses in what became known as World War I. And in Hornberger’s view, were our soldiers heroes helping to fulfill Wilson’s vision of saving the world for democracy? Not exactly:

The 117,466 U.S. soldiers who died in World War I died for nothing. No one can deny that. In fact, that might well be the reason why interventionists changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day. They wanted Americans to stop thinking about the fact that all those American soldiers in World War I died for nothing.

In light of these and many other Hornberger articles, I was puzzled when I came across another piece, “Politicians Live in a Parallel Universe,” in which he critiqued a Mitch McConnell op-ed. McConnell, a faithful interventionist, thought it would be a bad idea to withdraw from Syria, defending his position with stale, counterfactual assertions. To pick just one, McConnell says when the US “threw off the comforting blanket of isolationism in the 1940s and took the mantle of global leadership, we made the whole world better.”

Isolationism? Really? Hornberger wrote,

How can he not know about President Roosevelt’s interventionist machinations to embroil the United States in World War II? How could he not know about FDR’s Lend-Lease program with England, his military assistance to British forces, his oil embargo on Japan, his freezing of Japanese assets in the United States, and the humiliating dictates he issued to Japan, all with the aim of provoking Germany and Japan to attack and kill U.S. troops, so that he could manipulate the American people into entering World War II?

As an explanation for McConnell’s studied ignorance, Hornberger concludes he must be “living in a parallel universe.”

If only that were true. If only the political class would coerce their world and not ours.

As he knows, politicians, to our demise, reside right here with us and are coercing us daily. Yet even as a literary device, saying they live in another world, while making a colorful point, gets them off the hook. We are led to think of them as incomprehensible oddballs rather than evil people we must get along with, somehow, if we want to live in a civil society.

In McConnell’s worldview a rationale can always be found for the US military to meddle in other countries. Downsides? Of course certain people and industries profit from it while others pay. Of course there are accidents, what the military and media call collateral damage. Of course there are cover-ups and corruption. So what? Let’s admit this is what’s holding the country together. Who are we, in our world, to condemn an insider such as McConnell? Live and let live.

This is no small point. Hornberger’s article is a powerful indictment of a prominent politician and his worldview. As a professed libertarian Hornberger is (or should be) well aware of the criminal nature of the state and those who run it. He knows that people who have seen their families and livelihoods wiped out by American forces would not be impressed with literary allusions such as “parallel universe” or Bizarro World. Neither would other readers who need the full truth, that McConnell, who holds a Doctor of Law degree and is as fully earthbound as the rest of us, is freedom’s enemy.

The Future of Freedom Foundation founder knows better than most that the state has always shrouded itself and its motives in lies. Its state-educated subjects are too occupied or incurious to question them or dig much deeper than the controlled media. And who today has the courage to challenge it since learning of the third-world treatment accorded to Julian Assange and other whistleblowers?


Sometimes we find insight in unexpected sources. Here’s a line from the movie Cinderella Man: “There’s still some juice in these legs, and I can still take a few. Baby, please. Just let me take them in the ring. At least I know who’s hitting me.” We all need to know who’s hitting us. We need to be reminded constantly that our government, like all others, is a war among gangs to grab the levers of power, and given its forever war on our freedom, it’s imperative we never pull our punches.

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