Wednesday, June 06, 2007

D-Day pieties

Like many newspapers, the Register ran a piece today by a D-Day veteran that contained the usual stuff about how those brave soldiers died for our liberties, that we wouldn't be living in freedom today if it hadn't been for all those willing to make such sacrifices.

I don't doubt the courage or the dedication, or even the sincerity of the sentiment. But this is a piety that deserves to be challenged.

It is precisely in time of war, as Robert Higgs documented in his modern classic, "Crisis and Leviathan," that our liberties are most in danger. During wars the power of government grows, liberties are curtailed, dissenters are viewed with more suspicion and sometimes even branded as traitors, and we get abominations like the Patriot Act, increased electronic surveillance of Americans, less financial privacy, the justification of torture, erosion of habeas corpus and due process and the like.

I don't doubt that most U.S. soldiers sincerely believe they are fighting for our freedom. But when the country goes to war our freedoms are eroded and they never return to full robustness when the war is over

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