Today, we remember the sacrifices that have been made by soldiers and citizens in past times and present, as they fought against brazen ideology, oppression, and tyranny, in order to help secure the freedoms that we enjoy today. Thanks to their unparalleled efforts, I am able to speak out without fear of repression, whether my own views are popular or not. This is an ideal of freedom which we should cherish and never let fall to the wayside.
My thoughts and feelings not only go out to the people on the “winning side”, but also go to the people on the “losing side” as well, as they suffered needlessly due to the decisions of arm-chair generals and the fanatical ideology of the government. War is a brutal process, and most of the people on both sides suffer as a result. When citizens are set against each other due to mass paranoia, and war becomes so total that entire cities must be burned to the ground to destroy the fighting will of the people, killing women and children, everyone in this world loses.
The primary basis behind such destructive acts is fanatical ideology and excessive statism, or a belief that people exist to serve the state, that the state and the people in power know what’s best for us, and that the state and political power are the ultimate ends. I sometimes wonder what the world would be like if not for the Stalins, Hitlers, Maos, Pol Pots, etc… The Germans and Japanese are such productive people; if only they had focused that productivity into cars and other goods of exchange from the beginning instead of bombs and tanks! The Chinese have a rich history and were historically the largest economy in the world. If only they didn’t spend so many years bashing their heads against the walls of communism and the Cultural Revolution, destroying much of their history and culture in the process!
Incentives matter, and horrible incentives can lead even the best of people down a very dark road, on which only misery and hardship are to be found. While the dangers never seem so great in the present (when “peace for our time” was spoken, surely nobody could imagine the horrors that were to follow), we must always be on guard against creeping ideology and statism. Let’s trade with our fellow men and women and prosper together, and stamp down those who would seek to control us and lead us into disaster and ruin. Let us remember the mistakes of the past, and remain vigilant so that more men and women won’t have to die for our mistakes and the mistakes of others.
I will remember, and I hope that you will remember with me, too.
In Flanders Fields
By: Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.