Today, when people talk about winning World War II, they often talk about freedom defeating tyranny. That is mostly true as the United States, the UK, Canada and Australia were indeed democracies. But it was not tyranny we went to war against. Indeed one of the powers that helped defeat Hitler was itself a dictatorship that only declared war on Hitler after having been invaded.
Adolph Hitler didn’t suddenly become a dictator in 1939 or even 1941. He had been a dictator for years before war broke out. While he didn’t start out as such, soon after getting power legitimately in January of 1933, he became one. Mussolini similarly became dictator three years after coming to power legally in 1922. At the same time, in Japan Emperors had ruled without opposition for more than two generations. Dictatorship, as unseemly as it might be, is rarely a reason to go to war – however it can be a great motivator once war is declared.
We also hear people talk about WW II as a fight against evil. Again, while true, we did not go to war against evil. The Nazi’s came to power on a platform imbued with anti-Semitism and for most of the 30’s they were engaged in marginalizing, quarantining and murdering Jews and others who didn’t fit the profile of their superior Aryan “race”. In Asia the Japanese had been massacring Chinese for years, and in one of the most horrific events in modern history, they raped, mutilated and murdered hundreds of thousands of Chinese men, women and children in Nanking in 1937.
At the end of the day it was not tyranny that America went to war against, although our enemies certainly were tyrants. It was not evil America went to war against, although our enemies were certainly evil. No, it was aggression that America went to war against. Specifically, it was aggression directed towards us and secondarily against our allies. The United States did not engage in WW II until the Japanese attacked our forces at Pearl Harbor in 1941 – although the United States had been providing aid to the British and the Chinese for some time. And while Congress declared war on Japan the next day, it did not do so against Germany until after they had declared it on us.
Why does any of this matter? Because freedom matters. Because understanding that freedom’s not just preserved simply by defeating an enemy on the battlefield matters. While the Axis was indeed a threat to American liberty, German and Japanese atrocities made it easy to rally support against them. Rallying support for freedom against an enemy is much easier if that enemy is a viscous, ruthless killing machine. It’s far more difficult if the enemy of freedom is someone who’s ostensibly trying to help.
And that’s what makes 2014 different from 1941, or 1944 when D Day was launched 70 years ago this past Friday. During WW II the enemies of freedom were tyrants doing despicable, abhorrent things, and doing them largely over there. Eventually they targeted the United States and we engaged. Today, while there are enemies of freedom who do despicable, horrific things largely over there, the biggest enemies of freedom are over here and appear far less menacing. Indeed they couch their tyranny in the paternal pleas for “fairness” or equity or protecting the children. It’s hard to raise an army people who claim to be trying to help. But make no mistake, they are just as dangerous in the long run. This battle will not be fought with guns and bombs and the enemies of freedom aren't nearly as easy to identify as those flying the swastika or Rising Sun flags.
For Barack Obama and the rest of the big government cabal – which includes many Republicans – nothing less than American freedom is the enemy:
- Economic freedom is hard to maintain when they have regulated the American economy into virtual stagnation. Insufficient jobs and more government largesse leads to more people falling out of the workforce and becoming wards of the state. Today the Labor Force Participation Rate is at its lowest in almost 40 Years and fully half of Americans live in a home that receives government benefits.
- Intellectual freedom is difficult to maintain when government is snooping on your every move and listening to virtually every word you say.
- Political freedom is hard to maintain when the government uses its police power to harass its enemies and allows unfettered entrance to those who do not share our values.
- Liberty itself becomes somewhat unrecognizable when virtually every element of your daily life is regulated by nameless faceless bureaucrats in Washington and beyond. They may not yet tell you when to get up, when to go to the bathroom and when to go to bed, but it’s only a matter of time as virtually every single thing you interact with every day is regulated. Who must live in your neighborhood. The type of plastic your alarm clock is made of. The amount of sugar in your cereal. The amount of water your toilet flushes. What kind of gas your car must use. The kind of car seat you must have for your kid. What you can give that kid for lunch. What they must learn in school. What your boss must pay you. What constitutes overtime. How many minorities your bank must lend to. Who can contribute how much to political campaigns. What people can say on the radio or TV. What the cable companies can charge you. What information Google can collect. What a company can say on the label of a can of corn. The kind of refrigerant used in your refrigerator. The kind of light bulbs in your night stand. Not to mention the confiscatory tax rates and a tax code that even its enforcers can’t understand. There’s virtually nothing you do in any given day that does not require Uncle Sam’s stamp of approval at some point along the way.
In substituting for Rush Limbaugh last week Mark Belling wondered if the United States today could rally a force to defeat… well, anything. That’s a good question because it appears to be the case that the nation that rallied itself to defeat the greatest menace in human history is unable to recognize the threat to liberty right in its midst. Seventy five years ago the German and the Japanese conduct made them an easy target against whom to focus American attention and energy. Today, after a half century of the cancer of big government liberalism crippling American prosperity and eviscerating American freedom, perhaps it will be its flowering in the person of Barack Obama that will finally bring about its downfall. The soft tyranny of liberalism may not be as easy to recognize as the tyranny practiced by our enemies in WW II, but it is no less important to defeat. I hope Mark Belling will soon find himself pleasantly surprised.