After much debate (with myself), I’ve decided to move forward with writing this post; a critique of the Memorial Day anarcho-rant against people in the military. The sentiment I’m addressing can be summarized as: “I’m a right-thinking Voluntaryist, promoting the ideas of peace, love, and anarchy, and Memorial Day is a prime opportunity for me to deride, ridicule, and virtually spit in the faces of order-following dupes, aka The Military.”
A MESSAGE THAT DIVIDES
The other 364 days of the year, I read great content from liberty-minded individuals, highlighting our universal oneness. That we all have the same rights as moral agents correctly gives preeminence to the universalizeable ideas that make our philosophy so inclusive. However, on Memorial Day, as individual anarchists chastise military members in their blogs and social media posts, we tuck our best ideas away, and don our best proletariat impersonations as we proclaim how it’s “us against them.” A battle between aggregates and classes. How do you expect to connect with John P. Military and discuss the IDEAS of liberty when he is entrenched in his fortified position…that you helped construct? Dividing people into groups is the antithesis of the unifying message of liberty.
HEADACHES ARE STUPID!
What do the IRS, politicians, wars, military members, and headaches all have in common? They are symptoms of a root cause. The previously mentioned political actors are the visible, undesirable symptoms of the belief in government as a legitimate authority. Identifying symptoms is useful, as long as it aides in getting to the cause. For instance, when you have a headache, you wouldn’t respond by declaring your contempt for headaches, that headaches are stupid and unnecessary, that the world needs to stamp out headaches.
Additionally, this is a much clearer way to talk to people when the “Support Our Troops” slogan comes up. It’s not so much that I support or don’t support troops, in the same way that I do or don’t support headaches. Symptoms deserve neither support nor condemnation…causes, beliefs, and ideas do.
A PERSONAL NOTE
Like nearly all of you, I once believed in government authority. And, like some of you, I was part of the “symptoms” of such a belief. I was in the military for ten years. You know what changed my mind? Well, it wasn’t reading posts about how I was a stooge, or “baby killer.” It was reading and talking with individuals about the IDEAS of liberty, and how my actions and beliefs were in contradiction to the things I knew were true. So before you post your Memorial Day anarcho-rant, ask yourself if you are furthering individual liberty and peace by diagnosing causes, or, if you are simply rallying people to decry symptoms and headaches. Is your message going to be divisive, or inclusive? Are you trying to create soldiers for liberty, or stewards and sages? I hope this Memorial Day you choose the latter.
This article “Before You Make That Memorial Day Post” is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Matthew Cornforth and emancipatedhuman.com.