Nov 25

RaicoGreatWarsGreat Wars & Great Leaders: A Libertarian Rebuttal, by Ralph Raico ★★★★

Sunday school is currently covering the issue of Christian involvement and attitudes towards war. I had given away most of my ethics books on war, but the class had resurrected questions in my mind. Several reviews, including this, will be dealing with the issue of war.

Raico comes from a Libertarian perspective, a perspective that I don’t entirely agree with. Yet, I stand strongly behind his stance against war, though not always for precisely the same reasons. This book doesn’t contend directly with the morality of war, but instead simply reviews the wars of the 20th century, including the 1st WW, 2nd WW, and then cold war. He focuses heavily on Woodrow Wilson, Winston Churchill, FDR, and Truman, in all desiring war for the political means of self-promotion. Simultaneously, he more than sufficiently develops the extreme and astronomical hypocrisy of the people mentioned in stating their objections to war while purposely forcing war to become inevitable. Raico spends much time alerting us to the wanton hypocrisy of WWII, with us lambasting Hitler and his murder of innocents, without mentioning that Stalin killed vastly more Christians (for being Christian) than Hitler killed Jews (for being Jewish), that Churchill’s bombers killed unbelieveably more women, children, and civilians than were ever killed by Nazis, and that FDR (and Truman’s) atomic bombs made the petty crimes of the Nazi Nuremberg war criminals appear trivial.

From a Christian perspective, these are legitimate issues that are not addressed by the church, which smugly still believes in American exceptionalism and the impossibility of American erring in foreign policy, especially in establishing America’s interests throughout the world.

Patrick Buchanan does a better job of documenting the Churchillian hypocrisies, but Raico does a superb job of putting things together better, especially in dealing with the decisions of Truman, John Foster Dulles, and the henchmen which, in the name of Christ, repeatedly lied to the public and promoted a war fever—this fever pretended that America was on a Christian Crusade defending the name of Christ, rather than actually defending state interests in banking, oil, and other international commerce.

If we consider the destruction of Germany as evidence on God’s judgement on that nation for abandoning faith in Christ, I fear how much worse will be the lot for both Great Britain and the United States. This is a book worth reading, which I’m sure the neo-conservatives will attack in force. Niall Ferguson (reviewed previously by me) will deny British culpability in the fashion of an ostrich, being so convinced that the (English-speaking) white man’s burden is to save the world by policing and conquering the world, not realizing that salvation is in one person only, who happens to be currently ruling supreme. “He who sits in heaven laughs…” Meanwhile, Churchill and FDR will be occupying space in hell just below Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.

In terms of developing a defined stance against war, I can’t say that I’m strictly a pacifist. I’m strictly pro-life, as defined by Scripture. I will defend life, including if life comes under attack in any form. I will defend the life of both Christian, Buddhist, and Muslim, and even atheist, if there in no justification for termination of their life. Scripture defines when human life can or should be taken, and allows for personal defense. Those who argue a “holy war” perspective, such as Harold Brown fail in argumentative consistency or in providing even one remote historical example. There remains no correspondence between the current conservative American Christian in regard to military stance and Scripture. The strict pacifist also fails at being hypocritical. The Pacifist wishes for police protection, yet would never place themselves in the position of serving as policemen, possibly even killing somebody in the protection of law and order. To them, they fundamentally deny original sin, or the sinfulness of all mankind. They live in a hypocritical fantasy world.

The end of this book was a set of book reviews, which were disorganized, and did not necessarily follow the logical thought process of the book. They would have best been left out, or else summarized for their content distinctive of what was written in the book.

My next read will be Mark Hatfield’s Between a Rock and a Hard Place. I have no idea how Hatfield will develop his ideas, though I had tremendous respect for him as governor and senator for the state of Oregon. Coming soon at a blog site near you…


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3 Responses to “Great Wars and Great Leaders”

  1. John Gronewold says:

    “Petty crimes of the Nazi Nuremberg war criminals”. I have never heard of them described as petty. Explanation?

    I regards to the Sunday School class, the question of the biblical stories of whole populations being exterminated by righteous command have be reconciled. This seems to be the 800 pound gorilla that keeps being avoided.

  2. I chose the word “petty” not because I felt that the Nazis committed petty crimes, but because I was arguing that two wrongs don’t make a right. The horrific bombing of Lübeck, Hamberg, Köln, Würzberg, Berlin, Dresden, and nearly EVERY other German city, specifically targeting civilians, the children, women, elderly, and non-combatants, or the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki should make a giant pit in the stomach of every Christian. All total, we (the allied powers of America, England and Russia) killed more than triple the innocent lives than the Germans and Japanese combined. Yet, we consider ourselves on the side of god. Certainly, not my God, the God of Scripture. Regarding Biblical stories, the Lord commanding genocide of whole populations which were specific judgements. Can you say the same about any American war? Are we the new Israel, the children of God, driven by God to bring judgement on sinners? I don’t think so. It is not an 800 lb gorilla, but a non-sequitor. Even Israel was not allowed to indiscriminately wage war or kill.

  3. Onkel Dennis says:

    “the allied powers of America, England and Russia” They are not “we”.

    Your point about living by the law of God is on-target. If one does this, then there are circumstances in which one might have to resort to violence. Two examples are defense of one’s family and execution of those whom the law of God calls the social order to put to death, starting with the prerogative of the victims to throw the first stones.

    Counterexamples are: the support of God’s and our (as in “we”) enemies (they) who are the world rulers of evil, listed in part in your comments; and support of corrupt and lawless social institutions that commit crimes in the name of justice, in America and elsewhere.

    As I say: There are no JUST wars; there are just WARS.

    These wars are in the category of those initiated by fallen humanity. God’s wars have a completely different motivation, as has been pointed out elsewhere regarding the saving of Adamites from a lack of a human savior in the cross-breeding with the Nephalim in Canaan. I’ll not elaborate on this further here. However, the scripture does, though it is often either not understood or ignored.

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