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May 28, 2017

What we SHOULD remember on Memorial Day

Why Memorial Day should be an anti-politician day. Retweet

By Perry Willis & Jim Babka

Gore Vidal said it well…

“We are the United States of Amnesia.”

Most Americans know little history, and much of what they do “know” is either wrong or superficial. But that’s not surprising given that…

The politicians control our schools.

This suggests that the history we learn may be tailored to serve the political class. Since war is the health of the state, that history will also tend to promote warfare over peace. This bias for war cripples our ability to heed Santayana’s warning… [Politician parade]

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

So it has been for the American people.

Our politicians have repeatedly led us down the same mistaken path. Veterans Day and Memorial Day are two points on the calendar when our collective failure to remember is the most painful and the most dangerous. This is particularly ironic given that…

Memorial Day is the day when we’re supposed to REMEMBER!

But remember what? The people who died? Of course, and that’s good. But is that all? Shouldn’t we also remember why they died, and learn from it, in the hope of saving future lives? The answer seems obvious to us…

Memorial Day should be about…

  1. Remembering our lost loved ones
  2. Remembering and speaking the TRUTH about the wars that killed them

Sadly, most Americans skip part two. Even worse, they foster untruths about the past, mouthing feel-good platitudes designed to remove the sting of what really happened, or to make themselves feel good about being an American. These are understandable human motivations, but they lack nobility. Even worse…

Such actions are downright dangerous to the lives of future soldiers!

Feel-good falsehoods about past U.S. wars serve the cause of future bad wars, thereby leading to more dead soldiers to mourn. Enough! Here’s what we recommend instead…

First, brush-up on military history. It’s not hard to learn the key points. We’ve published several articles for this purpose over the past few days. We provide links to them below.

Second, don’t say false things tomorrow, such as “they died for our freedom,” or “to preserve our way of life.” As our history series shows, neither thing is true.

Third, be on the lookout for other people who mouth such platitudes and falsehoods. Don’t argue with them, but do suggest to them that there’s a good case to be made that politicians have always misused the military, both to harm freedom and to make us less safe. You don’t need to make that case yourself, and probably shouldn’t, unless you feel like you’ve really internalized the nuances and details. But, if they show interest, offer to email them our article series.

In short…

  1. Our “patriotic holidays” need to honor soldiers without mischaracterizing U.S. wars.
  2. The claim that U.S. soldiers “defended our freedom” is sweet-sounding but false. Freedom may be what our soldiers wanted to defend, but that’s not how our politicians actually used them.
  3. We must curtail the future ability of politicians to aggress against foreign countries.

Here, for your convenience, are the links to all our articles reviewing U.S. military history…

Thank you for your interest in our work. If you like our work please consider making a contribution or starting a monthly pledge here.

Jim Babka & Perry Willis

Co-founders, Downsize DC

Co-creators, Zero Aggression Project

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