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Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 12-13 of Tom Palmer’s forthcoming collection, Peace, Love, & Liberty; specifically, it’s from Tom’s lead essay, “Peace Is a Choice” (link added):

War challenges lawfulness at every turn.  It undermines the rule of law.  It concentrates power in the executive branch of government.  It provides a ready-to-hand justification for every abuse of power.  The recent evidence of enormous spying and surveillance apparatuses of very dubious legality are a case in point.  Such surveillance would have been considered the fantasy of a paranoid kook only few years ago; and it is all justified in the name of “the war on terror.”

War increases the power of government and its ability to exercise its coercive powers.  With every war, new powers are gained and it takes much time and much effort to roll those powers back, if they are rolled back at all….  War paves the way for force labor (in the form of conscription), for taxation, for confiscation and relinquishing of goods, for rationing, for socialism.  New agencies, new powers, new taxes, all can be justified by alleging their need to “win the war,” “defeat the enemy,” and “secure the nation.”  War breeds collectivism and statism.

Here, by the way, is Deirdre McCloskey’s blurb for Tom’s new collection:

The old lie – that sweet and proper it is to die for your country – receives here a decisive answer.  It is not sweet and proper to bomb children in Iraq, nor to die from a roadside bomb planted by their fathers, nor to advocate war as cleansing, ennobling, or invigorating.  The anti-liberals from Joseph de Maistre to David Brooks who have argued otherwise are here revealed as, simply, warmongers.  Tom Palmer’s brilliant editing and writing makes an overwhelming case for ironmongers, fishmongers, and all the other dealers in peaceful exchange, without cudgels or drafts or blood gargling from froth-corrupted lungs.


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