Over the Thanksgiving holidays, I visited Luray, Virginia, a beautiful little town nestled in the Shenandoah Valley. Walking by the county courthouse, I noticed a plaque out in front, whose inscription exemplifies a root cause of the dysfunctional nature of American society. The plaque reads:
Page County Veterans Memorial
Those who have long enjoyed such freedoms as we enjoy forget in time that man has died to win them.
Dedicated to those who served their country in times of war and peace especially dedicated to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in order that all mankind may live free.
We all gave some and some gave all.
The plaque lists the names of American military personnel from Page County, Virginia, who died in four of America’s foreign wars: World War I, World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War.
Of course, this type of plaque is not unique to Luray. Variations of it can be found in front of government buildings all across America.
If you want to understand one of the big reasons why the United States is riddled with massive drug addiction and alcoholism, irrational acts of violence, and ever-rising suicide rates, especially among young people and veterans, just read that plaque in front of the Page County, Virginia, courthouse.
Talk to any psychologist or psychiatrist or just read a few self-help books about living a life that denies reality. They will all tell you that when a person lives that type of life, it will inevitably lead to severe psychosis, especially if the person doesn’t realize that anything is wrong with him and instead believes that everything is fine with him.
It’s only when a person achieves a “breakthrough” as to his condition that he is able to start the long road to recovery. The first step toward recovery and health, as Alcoholics Anonymous points out, is for a person to acknowledge that he has a problem.
That’s the problem with America, or, to be more precise, with a large segment of the American populace. They are living what can be called the life of the lie and have been for their entire lives. It is a lie that holds that American soldiers have died for freedom in America’s foreign wars.
Nothing could be further from the truth. But all too many Americans simply cannot bring themselves to acknowledge the lie they are living. It’s just too comfortable living the life of the lie, which, over time, manifests itself in a massively dysfunctional society, one in which the dysfunctionality becomes increasingly worse the longer the lie persists.
World War I. No American soldier, including those from Page County, Virginia, died in World War I defending the freedom of the American people or, for that matter, anyone’s else’s freedom. The freedom of the American people was never at stake or at risk. President Wilson’s war aims were (1) to “make the world safe for democracy,” which, of course, is not the same thing as freedom and (2) to make this the war that would end war forever.
Wilson’s war aims were a crock. It didn’t take Americans long to realize that Wilson had sacrificed the lives of American soldiers for nothing. No, not for freedom, but rather for nothing. Even worse, he had destroyed freedom by conscripting — i.e. forcing — men to go thousands of miles away to be sacrificed for nothing. Moreover, there was the destruction of liberty here at home, including the jailing of American citizens who dared to criticize Wilson’s deadly folly.
World War II. Germany never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so. Hitler’s aim was always to establish dominance on the European continent and to move eastward against the Soviet Union and communism. After the fiasco of World War I, Americans wanted no part of another European war. But President Roosevelt, unwilling to let the American people have the final say, provoked the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor and the Philippines, especially through a very effective oil embargo, in order to give him a “back door” to getting the U.S. into the war against Germany. At no time did Japan threaten the freedom of the American people. Its war aim was limited to trying to knock out the U.S. fleet so that Japan would have a free hand in invading the Dutch East Indies to secure the oil to fund its war machine in China.
Moreover, at the end of the war, half of Germany and all of Eastern Europe were under communist control, which wasn’t any better than Nazi control. Communism, like Nazism, is the opposite of freedom. The aftermath of the war also led to the conversion of the U.S. government to a national-security state with omnipotent, dark-side powers that are antithetical to the principles of a free society. It also led to the Cold War, which brought massive infringement on the liberties and privacy of the American people.
Korean War and Vietnam War. These were nothing more than civil wars that were no business of the U.S. government. At no time did North Korea or North Vietnam threaten the freedom of the American people. The U.S. interventions into these civil wars actually destroyed freedom at home through conscription and destruction of civil liberties.
Maybe nobody from Page County has been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, given that those two forever wars aren’t listed on the plaque. But the same principle applies there as well: Soldiers who have died in those two foreign escapades did not die for freedom, given that the freedom of the American people was never being threatened by either the Afghan regime or the Iraqi regime. American soldiers in Afghanistan or Iraq have died for the same thing that American soldiers died for in other foreign escapades: they have died for nothing.
But Americans cannot bring themselves to face these discomforting and painful truths. They insist on continuing the life of the lie — the life that defers to and, even worse, glorifies the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA, the three principal components of the national-security establishment that itself has destroyed the freedom and well-being of the American people. Americans simply cannot bring themselves to acknowledge reality — that American soldiers who died in these foreign escapades died not for freedom but for nothing and that many of them were forced to do so through conscription.
Until Americans come to grips with reality, the suicides will continue, especially among young people and veterans, as so will the massive drug addiction, alcoholism, and other self-destructive behavior, not to mention the many irrational acts of violence. That’s the type of dysfunctional society that the life of the lie — a life that denies reality — produces.