The Roots of War

Just as [Woodrow] Wilson, a “liberal” reformer, led the United States into World War I “to make the world safe for democracy” — so Franklin D. Roosevelt, another “liberal” reformer, led it into World War II, in the name of the “Four Freedoms.”  In both cases the “conservatives” — and the big business interests — were overwhelmingly opposed to war but were silenced.  In the case of World War II they were smeared as “isolationists,” “reactionaries,” and “America-First’ers.”

     World War I led, not to “democracy,” but to the creation of three dictatorships: Soviet Russia, Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany.  World War II led, not to “Four Freedoms,” but to the surrender of one-third of the world’s population into communist slavery.

     If peace were the goal of today’s intellectuals, a failure of that magnitude — and the evidence of unspeakable suffering on so large a scale — would make them pause and check their statist premises.  Instead, blind to everything but their hatred for capitalism, they are now asserting that “poverty breeds wars” (and justifying war by sympathizing with a “material greed” of that kind).  But the question is: What breeds poverty?  If you look a the world of today and if you look back at history, you will see the answer:  the degree of a country’s freedom is the degree of its prosperity.

     Another current catch-phrase is the complaint that the nations of the world are divided into “haves” and the “have-nots.”  Observe that the “haves” are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the “have-nots” have not.

     If men want to oppose war, it is statism that they must oppose.  So long as they hold the tribal notion that the individual is sacrificial fodder for the collective, that some men have the right to rule others by force, and that some (any) alleged “good” can justify it — there can be no peace within a nation and no peace among nations.

Ayn Rand,1966

An excerpt,published in The Objectivist.


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