Belatedly on this Memorial Day, last day of May, 2021, let us reflect just a wee bit.
As millions spend this day in ceremonies and visits to gravesides and memorials to honor certain dead people – and millions more spend this day in rest, relaxation, binge watching, sports (watching or playing), stuffing themselves and blowing off work.
Consider specifically, that many people REFUSE to honor these dead for various reasons. Here are some of those reasons: those men and women went to fight and die for various causes that are despicable in the eyes of many.
Before we look at the list, let me state, one way or another, the people for which this day was established paid the price OF NO LIBERTY – they died, regardless of their cause, because that was the price of them having no liberty, their society having no liberty. Or their enemy having none. Or both.
- Imperialism – no matter what it might be called or what excuse or justification for it
- Martial glory and militarism – just for wearing a uniform and accepting it
- Colonization and conquest – especially against “people of color” or “third world” regions: especially the indigenous or native people
- White supremacy – and not just those who served in grey or butternut – more and more defined as any preference for people of some or all European extraction
- Racism – which I understand is different from white supremacy (I guess I can see that: for example the way many Navajo are biased and show prejudice against members of other nations.)
- Sexism – especially those who died “protecting their women” according to many feminists
- Wall Street – the bankers and investors and rulers of companies: capitalists and plutocrats
- Religion – certainly those which create and support “white supremacy” and conquest
- Conservativism – particularly against so-called “progressives” including Fascists and Communists, Socialists and Anti-fascists.
Anyone who fought for these causes, or who fought where the victory of their side aided these causes – does NOT deserve any honor, any respect, any memorial. Or so many, many people say.
Did I miss any? Hopefully not – I do so want to be inclusive and not miss goring anyone’s buffalo.
Libertarians are somewhat prone to attack Memorial Day for many of these reasons – because most of them despise most of these things.
But let me point out something near the end of this day of supposed honor:
Although many of those dead soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen, and Marines may have believed they were fighting and dying for a cause, the reality was different.
They died – they were killed – BECAUSE of, and BY these causes. They are the VICTIMS of these various deplorable ideas – and the men and women who pushed and controlled these causes. And still do.
They paid the penultimate price when they died in combat, due to injury or illness, “in the line of duty” because they were sent to kill and be killed for one of these causes. Even if they were told it was for “peace” or “democracy” or “the proletariat” or “the people” or whatever excuse the politicians and their puppets and puppetmasters sounded loudly about.
True, many of those men and women fought and died for a cause – which may have been one or more of those I’ve listed, or simply to defend themselves, their families, their community, their property, their neighbors and loved ones.
Let us at least honor their intent. And, to quote a famous Man, :let the dead bury the dead.” It serves no USEFUL purpose to desecrate their graves, much less their memories. And those memories and those graves SHOULD cause us to think the next time some nasty person tries to stir up trouble, conflict, and war.
Honor the dead – even those who died in vain. Even those who fought and died for causes we know are wrong, for causes that are themselves evil. We cannot know – and will not ever be able to judge – their motives. We can condemn their cause, argue (and even fight) against those evil ideas for which they stood, and served and fought, and died.
But I beg us to honor their sacrifice. Honor their dedication, however wrongful it was. And remember that if evil can gather such support, good can gather MORE support. If even evil can demand such sacrifice, what can good require.
Too much of what we see today in cancel culture, in blanket condemnation of so much of the past, and in rejection of special days like today is a vicious lashing out against anything and everything that promotes true love and peace and understanding. It is revenge against those who can suffer nothing from us, who can change nothing. It is a waste of energy. Even MORE a waste of energy than showing compassion, understanding and honor for the good things those men and women of past wars and service did. While reminding ourselves to learn the lessons we must from their mistakes, their errors, their naivity, and their acceptance of wrong.\
Liberty demands a price. So does a condition of NO liberty. The universe rings up an collects the bill.